Marine Who Grew to become a Social Media Star for Questioning Afghanistan Battle Discovered Responsible, Awaits Sentencing

After a daylong listening to, Lt. Col. Stu Scheller has been discovered responsible of all six prices stemming from his criticism on social media of senior leaders over the Afghanistan withdrawal.

On Aug. 26, Scheller posted a viral video of himself in uniform demanding accountability from senior navy leaders following a suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. troops in Afghanistan that very same day. After that, the Marine officer made a number of extra movies, wrote greater than a dozen posts, and served 9 days within the brig. This particular court-martial is the tip results of his flurry of social media exercise.

In all, prosecutors charged that Scheller discredited himself as an officer or disrespected different officers and officers 27 instances via posts and remarks private and non-private.

The day started with Scheller standing earlier than the decide in his court-martial, Col. Glen Hines, and pleading responsible to prices that included contempt towards officers, disrespect towards superior officers, and dereliction within the efficiency of duties. The plea was a part of an settlement that Scheller’s legal professionals reached with the Marine Corps that limits his punishment to not more than a letter of reprimand and a seizure of two-thirds of his pay for as much as 12 months.

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Given Scheller’s rank and 17 years of service, the latter would value Scheller tens of hundreds of {dollars}.

“I did what I did as a result of I believed it was in the perfect long-term curiosity of the Marine Corps,” Scheller mentioned in his testimony. “I’ve all the time needed to make the Marine Corps higher.”

A lot of the morning was spent going over every cost to guarantee each prosecutors and the decide that Scheller was not solely responsible however believed that he was responsible of every cost — a necessity beneath navy justice.

Since lots of the prices stemmed from posts and feedback made on social media, Scheller spent a lot of his time confirming that he was conscious the posts weren’t personal, have been deliberately disrespectful, and weren’t pressured.

Scheller additionally testified that he willfully disobeyed an order — given to him Sept. 17 after his fourth video and a number of other written posts — to cease making additional social media posts.

The Marine admitted that “by posting about what I perceived to be my superior’s incompetence” he “adversely affected good order and self-discipline.”

After Hines accepted each Scheller’s responsible plea and the deal either side agreed to, the protection known as a number of character witnesses. They included 4 former Marines who had beforehand served with Scheller and described him as an attentive, engaged and caring chief.

Nonetheless, the protection additionally known as as witnesses Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Each representatives argued that Scheller was a sufferer of a two-tiered judicial system that’s extra thinking about going after him than senior leaders similar to Gen. Mark Milley, Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin, and President Joe Biden. Greene’s testimony, which prompted a number of objections from the prosecution for being irrelevant, additionally known as for Biden’s impeachment and accused the U.S. navy of “battle crimes” over the lethal drone strike that killed 10 in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 29.

The entire arguments within the trial have now completed, and Hines has adjourned court docket till Friday morning, when he’s anticipated to announce Scheller’s sentence.

— Konstantin Toropin could be reached at Comply with him on Twitter @ktoropin.

Associated: Marine Officer Scheller Free of Brig as Authorized Struggles Proceed over Viral Movies

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