One of the defense counsel in the Haditha case notes the number of men given immunity and suggests this signals a problem with the prosecution case. From the New York Times:
CAMP PENDLETON -- The list of Marines granted immunity in the Haditha investigation has reportedly grown to at least seven, a sign of a bungled investigation that has prosecutors scrambling to make a case, according to an attorney for a staff sergeant charged with 13 counts of murder.
"There are a lot of problems and it may well be that this list of immunity grants is evidence of that," said Mark Zaid, a Washington, D.C., attorney representing Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich. "There are things about the government's case that have yet to come out that are very troubling."
The Marine Corps announced Tuesday that it had dropped five murder charges against Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, and granted him immunity after determining his role in the 2005 deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in the city of Haditha, because of the "potential value of his testimony."
Immunity also has been granted to 1st Lt. William Kallop, the first officer to respond to the Haditha shootings and the man who allegedly ordered Wuterich to assault a group of houses. As many as five additional Marines and possibly others have been given the same immunity, according to a Friday report by The Associated Press.
Zaid said a North County Times report last week that described several problems confronting prosecutors, including a questionable investigation of the Haditha incident by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, underscores emerging issues in the case.
"What surprises me is this increasing number of grants of immunity," Zaid said Friday. "Are they looking to hold only a small number of people accountable for public relations reasons?"
Some, if not all, of the immunity grants that have been approved by Lt. Gen. James Mattis are reportedly unconditional, meaning those men would not face any jeopardy if they make incriminating statements or do not testify as fully as prosecutors may wish. Mattis is the convening authority over the case as head of all Marine Corps forces in the Middle East.