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John Murtha named in defamation lawsuit

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posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 04:28 AM
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US Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) will be named as a defendant in a lawsuit to be filed today by a US Marine Staff Sgt. The charges stem from statements made by Murtha regarding an incident in Haditha, Iraq, earlier this year.
 



www.washingtonpost.com

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Page

A Marine Corps staff sergeant who led the squad accused of killing two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq, will file a lawsuit today in federal court in Washington claiming that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) defamed him when the congressman made public comments about the incident earlier this year.

Attorneys for Frank D. Wuterich, 26, argue in court papers that Murtha tarnished the Marine's reputation by telling news organizations in May that the Marine unit cracked after a roadside bomb killed one of its members and that the troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood." Murtha also said repeatedly that the incident was covered up.

Murtha argued that the questionable deaths of 24 civilians were indicative of the difficulties and overpowering stress that U.S. troops are facing. The congressman, a former Marine, has been a leading advocate for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Congressmen usually have their speech protected by Article 1, Section 6, of the US Constitution, the so called "speech and debate clause", but this only applies to legislative speeches, and not press releases and the like.

Murtha, a former Marine, is well respected in his congressional district for his long time contributions to public service, but that sentiment takes a noticeable change for the worse when his outspoken opposition to the Iraq war is the subject. Then, respect turns to guarded confusion and disbelief. The Marines involved have not been charged and have not received any official investigative documentation about the Nov. 19 incident.

I find it puzzling that a former Marine, a hawkish Democrat, would not be more selective in his comments about the Haditha incident. To imply that those involved murdered innocent civilians in cold blood, without supporting evidence, is irresponsible, IMO.

[edit on 2/8/2006 by Mirthful Me]




posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 10:10 AM
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Originally posted by bombers8
The Marines involved have not been charged and have not received any official investigative documentation about the Nov. 19 incident.


I'm not sure what you mean here. Can you elaborate? The marines haven't been officially told that this is under investigation? Because I've known for quite some time.

Haditha Investigation Nearly Complete



WASHINGTON --Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.



And if it's true, it's not defamation.

[edit on 2-8-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 01:35 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I'm not sure what you mean here. Can you elaborate? The marines haven't been officially told that this is under investigation? Because I've known for quite some time.

From the article:

Zaid said the filing is designed partly to force Murtha to disclose what information he received from the Defense Department and the Marine Corps commandant to form his opinion, essentially trying to speed up the discovery process in a potential criminal trial.

I take it to mean that the defense has not been privy to any evidence they are entitled to according to the rules of discovery.


And if it's true, it's not defamation.

Agreed. But it is untimely.



 
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