Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, the Marine who was relieved of his duties after publicly criticizing senior leaders on Facebook over Afghanistan, will plead guilty to some charges at his special court martial, which begins Thursday morning at Camp Lejeune , according to his lawyer Timothy Parlatore. .
“People are upset because their top leadership has let them down and none of them raise their hands and accept accountability or say, ‘We messed it up,'” Scheller said in a video. Facebook from August 26 which garnered a lot of attention. “Did any of you throw your row on the table and say, ‘Hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, the strategic air base, before evacuating everything? the world ‘? Did anyone do that? ”
After 17 years of service, Scheller closed the video by saying he was willing to throw it all in to demand accountability.
“Lt. Col. Scheller asked legitimate questions about the conduct of our senior military leaders during the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the preventable deaths of 13 servicemen,” Parlatore said in a statement. to be the messenger, and be willing to accept responsibility for it, does not change the validity of the message. ”
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On August 27, he was relieved of command of the Forward Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Geiger, a Camp Lejeune facility.
“There is a forum in which the leadership of the Marines can voice their disagreements with the chain of command, but it is not social media,” said Marine Corps spokesman Maj Jim Stenger after the incident. .
A series of messages from Scheller followed, including a video from August 29 in which he resigned from his commission and said “Follow me and we will bring down the whole … system.”
Scheller continued to speak out and on September 27 he was remanded in custody at Camp Lejeune. His parents told Fox News he was jailed for breaking a gag order.
On October 5, Scheller was released from confinement and charged with six violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:
- Contempt for public officials (Article 88)
- Lack of respect for senior officers (article 89)
- Willfully disobeying a superior officer (article 90)
- Failure to perform duties (Article 92)
- Non-compliance with an order or regulation (article 92)
- Conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman (Article 133)
Scheller’s potential punishment is limited by the fact that it is a special court martial, according to Richard McNeil, a local military attorney who has said Scheller cannot get discharge for misconduct in court. special martial because he is an officer.
“My belief is that if he’s found guilty, they could use that conviction as a basis if they wanted to administratively remove him from the Marine Corps,” McNeil said.
Scheller is also represented by Tony Buzbee, who wants the Marine Corps to give free rein to his client.
“All Lt. Col. Scheller wanted from the start was to be able to resign,” Buzbee said. “He’s already lost his command, he’s lost his job, he’s lost his health care, he’s lost his retirement… Hopefully there is some compassion on the part of the Marine Corps in understanding that this doesn’t make beautiful person. ”
Journalist Calvin Shomaker can be contacted at [email protected]