Wuterich Haditha update

Marine Corps Times reports:

Eight Marines were charged in the biggest criminal case against U.S. troops to arise from the Iraq war. Six have had charges dismissed, and one was acquitted.

Whether the only remaining and perhaps highest-profile defendant stands trial may hinge on what happens this week in a military courtroom.

Lawyers for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich will ask a judge to dismiss charges against the former squad leader in a case involving the deaths of 24 Iraqi men, women and children in Hadithah in November 2005, arguing that a general who oversaw the case was improperly influenced by an aide.

The defense argues Mattis was improperly influenced by Col. John Ewers, who investigated the killings and later became a top legal adviser to the general. Military policy prohibits Ewers from offering legal advice on Hadithah because he was also an investigator in the case.

North County Times reports:

Gen. James Mattis, one of the most revered generals in the Marine Corps, testified Monday that he was never improperly influenced when making decisions about the prosecutions of troops charged in the slayings of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, in 2005.

"I don’t recall a single time that anyone tried to influence me unlawfully," Mattis testified in a Camp Pendleton courtroom where Haditha defendant Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich is seeking to have charges against him dismissed.