Army Prosecutors Hide The Ball – Again!

Army Prosecutors Hide The Ball – Again!

U.S. Soldier’s Lawyer Says Access Denied to Evidence

By and
Published: March 3. 2012
 The lawyer representing Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier charged with 17 counts of murder in the deaths of Afghan civilians this month, said that military prosecutors had denied members of his legal team access to witnesses at a Kandahar hospital, as well as to investigative files, medical records and surveillance video.

“We were expecting a lot more cooperation,” Sergeant Bales’s lead lawyer, John Henry Browne, said during a news conference in Seattle on Friday.

The complaints are expected to be just the first of many disputes over evidence in what experts predict will be an extremely complicated case for both defense and prosecution, given the location of the crime scene in a war zone and the possible hostility of witnesses to lawyers from both sides.

Mr. Browne said that after members of his team were prevented from interviewing survivors of the attacks at a hospital, prosecutors interviewed those witnesses the following day. The witnesses were then released, leaving no contact information. “They could just disappear into the countryside,” Mr. Browne said.

He also said that the team was not given access to health records for the wounded civilians or surveillance video that purportedly shows Sergeant Bales returning to his combat outpost after the killings.