Thursday, June 22, 2006

Defense Funds For Marines And Their Corpsman...

"Money and messages from around the nation are being delivered to seven Marines and a Navy corpsman held in the Camp Pendleton brig as they await the results of an investigation into the alleged abduction and slaying of an Iraqi civilian.

Local residents have rallied in support of the troops at Camp Pendleton's Oceanside gate, and several smaller Marine support groups are lining up behind the men and their families.
Families of three of the men have established legal defense funds and are accepting contributions. Jeremiah Sullivan III, a San Diego attorney representing the unnamed Navy corpsman, a medic, had set up the first such account several weeks ago at the Web site,

"My client's wife has received more than 1,100 e-mails already," Sullivan said this week. "It's unbelievable and truly a credit to Americans across the country."There have been some moving letters, and when I met with my client on Father's Day, he was in disbelief with the amount of support from around the country."

The men have been in the brig since May 24, but have yet to be charged with any crimes as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service continues to look into the allegations.The troops have been assigned military attorneys, and at least seven have hired private lawyers who may ultimately take the lead role in their defense.The mother of one of the Marines, who asked not to be identified, said she and the families of the other men estimated that it could cost $500,000 or more to pay all the attorneys' fees for the eight men should they face charges.

"It could go on for a good part of four to six months," Casas said. "There are a lot of witnesses to interview, a potential trip to Iraq and visits to the Camp Pendleton brig. It will be a big production for each one of the attorneys."Casas helped the Jodka family establish a trust account that is publicized on the Web site,

Robert K. Brown, editor and publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine, said he was still looking to see what he could do to drum up support."In no way shape or form has this reached its zenith," said Brown. "I think it's going to take a while for people and groups to get organized."
It's smart for them to employ outside lawyers, and the scuttlebutt has it that if they are good lawyers this case is a slam dunk acquittal, but I am not so naive as to believe that a military tribunal of officers second-guessing enlisted men could ever be that easy.

This is going to be a close thing, but it's looking good.

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