NCIS on the hot seat

Lawyers for a defendant in a court martial have charged that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) altered the statements of the soldier's fellow Marines, and the trial has been halted for an investigation of the charge.

CAMP PENDLETON ---- A hearing for a Marine officer accused of assaulting an Iraqi was halted Friday after a defense attorney alleged that Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents fabricated portions of statements that led to the charges against the lieutenant.

Attorney David Sheldon made the assertion in a Camp Pendleton courtroom on the second day of an Article 32 hearing for 2nd Lt. Nathan Phan. The Sacramento-area native is charged with assaulting three Iraqis and filing a false report in an incident that took place on April 10 in Hamdania, Iraq.

Sheldon's allegation prompted the hearing officer, Lt. Col William Pigott, to order a halt to the proceedings until the three government agents could be brought to court to testify.

"I want to hear from these agents," Pigott said, ordering a recess in the hearing until an as-yet-to-be determined date when all the parties can be present in the courtroom.

The development came during the midpoint of testimony from Lance Cpl. Christopher Faulkner, a member of the platoon that the 26-year-old Phan commanded in Iraq last year.

Faulkner testified that a statement the Marine Corps' Navy law enforcement agency attributed to him contained falsehoods. The key inaccuracy, he said, was including language that said he saw Phan placing an unloaded pistol into the mouth of one of the alleged victims. In fact, Faulkner testified, he never saw that occur and never told agents that it had.

Phan's defense team also introduced a signed affidavit from Faulkner stating that he merely saw Phan in a room with a detainee and that the lieutenant was leaning against a wall as the men were being questioned.

During a break in the hearing, Sheldon approached Pigott and said he had reason to believe the government agents were lying.
This is certainly an interesting development.

There has been so much leaking against the defendants in these military trials which seems to have originated out of the NCIS, I certainly welcome a closer look at their operations.
Lawyers for a defendant in a court martial have charged that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) altered the statements of the soldier's fellow Marines, and the trial has been halted for an investigation of the charge.

CAMP PENDLETON ---- A hearing for a Marine officer accused of assaulting an Iraqi was halted Friday after a defense attorney alleged that Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents fabricated portions of statements that led to the charges against the lieutenant.

Attorney David Sheldon made the assertion in a Camp Pendleton courtroom on the second day of an Article 32 hearing for 2nd Lt. Nathan Phan. The Sacramento-area native is charged with assaulting three Iraqis and filing a false report in an incident that took place on April 10 in Hamdania, Iraq.

Sheldon's allegation prompted the hearing officer, Lt. Col William Pigott, to order a halt to the proceedings until the three government agents could be brought to court to testify.

"I want to hear from these agents," Pigott said, ordering a recess in the hearing until an as-yet-to-be determined date when all the parties can be present in the courtroom.

The development came during the midpoint of testimony from Lance Cpl. Christopher Faulkner, a member of the platoon that the 26-year-old Phan commanded in Iraq last year.

Faulkner testified that a statement the Marine Corps' Navy law enforcement agency attributed to him contained falsehoods. The key inaccuracy, he said, was including language that said he saw Phan placing an unloaded pistol into the mouth of one of the alleged victims. In fact, Faulkner testified, he never saw that occur and never told agents that it had.

Phan's defense team also introduced a signed affidavit from Faulkner stating that he merely saw Phan in a room with a detainee and that the lieutenant was leaning against a wall as the men were being questioned.

During a break in the hearing, Sheldon approached Pigott and said he had reason to believe the government agents were lying.
This is certainly an interesting development.

There has been so much leaking against the defendants in these military trials which seems to have originated out of the NCIS, I certainly welcome a closer look at their operations.