Navy Lawyer Waives Evidentiary Hearing In Classified Data Case




 
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December 20th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Navy Lawyer Waives Evidentiary Hearing In Classified Data Case


Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
December 20, 2006
By Tim McGlone, The Virginian-Pilot
NORFOLK - A Navy lawyer accused of mishandling classified information about Guantanamo Bay detainees waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday and will take his case straight to a court-martial.
Lt. Cmdr. Matthew M. Diaz decided against the evidentiary hearing at Norfolk Naval Station after a key witness failed to show up.
Diaz, 41, a Kansas native, is charged with passing classified information about Guantanamo detainees to someone outside the government who was not authorized to receive it.
Specifics about what information allegedly was disclosed and who received it have not been released.
Since 2002, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base has been the main detention center for so-called enemy combatants, foreign nationals suspected of terrorist ties.
About 395 prisoners are being held there as of this week, according to Reuters news service.
Diaz worked as a deputy staff judge advocate at the base beginning in July 2004. His duties included providing counsel to the military command there, but he was not involved with prosecuting or defending the prisoners.
He is accused in eight counts of printing out classified information between Dec. 20, 2004, and Feb. 28, 2005, and mailing it to a "person not entitled to receive" it, according to charge reports supplied by the Navy.
The Navy has previously described the documents as containing the names and other identifying information on the detainees.
Diaz, who did not appear in the courtroom Tuesday, has declined to comment. He remains free and has been stationed in Jacksonville. His civilian attorney, Victor Kelley of Birmingham, Ala., has not returned repeated phone calls from The Virginian-Pilot, and Diaz's two military defense lawyers declined to comment Tuesday.
Navy prosecutors also declined to comment.
The prosecutors and defense team met with the military judge briefly Tuesday morning and then adjourned to a private room. Two hours later, a public affairs official announced that the defendant and prosecutors agreed to waive the proceeding.
Navy spokesman Kevin Copeland said a "key witness" who previously had agreed to testify had changed his mind and that the Navy could not force the individual to testify at the hearing.
Copeland could not identify the witness by name, but described him as a "Department of Justice classification expert."
 


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