As suggested by my previous two posts, I’m in Norfolk, sitting in on the McCabe court-martial. We here at CAAFlog have been following the case for some time. And it features two advocates for whom I have great respect — our very own Super Muppet of Appellate Advocacy on one side and Neal Puckett on the other. (Before I got down here, I didn’t realize that Haytham Faraj would also be making an appearance for SO2 McCabe, providing still more reason to sit in on the trial. BTW, if they make a movie out of this case, Vin Diesel should play Mr. Faraj.) So I succumbed to the temptation to observe this military justice version of Clash of the Titans.
While today’s courtroom proceedings were interesting, the case had less of a carnival atmosphere than I expected based on what preceded it. There was a rally to support SO2 McCabe outside Gate 5 of the Norfolk Naval Station today, scheduled for 1000-1500. By 0800, there were already four people at the rally site — one of whom was wearing a “Tyranny Response Team” t-shirt. A Gadsden “Don’t Treat on Me” flag — the banner of the Tea Party movement — was on display. At 1230, when Ipassed by the rally site again, there were 25 people there, including children. Two “Taylor for Congress” signs stood along the road — Scott Taylor is a former SEAL who is running for Congress in Virginia’s Second Congressional District. The result was something of a muddled message.
While I thought the courtroom would be jammed, it was only half-filled. Ten journalists — including a court sketch artist — were there, along with about the same number of non-journalist attendees. Members of SO2 McCabe’s family were there, along with the mothers of two of the Blackwater contractors who were killed in Fallujah in 2004. The man SO2 McCabe is accused of hitting is believed to have planned the killings. Adding some star power to the proceedings, CAAF Senior Judge Eugene Sullivan was also in attendance.
The trial was originally expected to wrap up on Wednesday. But because proceedings didn’t start until 1300 today, pushing back member selection to tomorrow, I’m not sure it’ll be done by then. I only took three days of vacation from my day job, so I’ll turn back into a pumpkin Wednesday night whether the trial’s done or not. But for the next two nights, I’ll provide updates on the case’s progress.