We’ve been watching the case of Senior Chief Barry, U.S. Navy, who was convicted of one specification of sexual assault in violation of Article 120, and sentenced to confinement for three years and a dishonorable discharge. Prior posts are here, here, here, and here.
The convening authority – Rear Admiral Patrick J. Lorge (now retired) – approved the findings and sentence, the NMCCA affirmed in an opinion available here, and CAAF summarily affirmed on April 27, 2017. But after CAAF acted, the Admiral signed an affidavit alleging that he really wanted to disapprove the finding of guilty but the then-Judge Advocate General of the Navy and her deputy (the current JAG) persuaded him not to do so because it would be bad public relations for the Navy and hurt Lorge’s career.
That allegation prompted CAAF to reverse its summary affirmation and grant review of “whether senior civilian and military leaders exerted unlawful command influence on the convening authority.” CAAF also ordered post-trial fact-finding.
Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times reports here on that fact-finding hearing:
A retired Navy admiral who accused the service’s top lawyers of improperly intervening in a SEAL’s sexual assault case made his charge to a judge this week at a special hearing ordered by the military’s highest court.
Retired Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge testified in a Washington Navy Yard courtroom that a lawyer admiral — Vice Adm. James Crawford, now the judge advocate general of the Navy — urged him not to overturn the conviction of Senior Chief Petty Officer Keith E. Barry.
. . .
Mr. Lorge testified that Adm. Crawford told him that overriding the military judge’s guilty verdict would harm the Navy politically. On the stand, Adm. Crawford acknowledged he spoke with Mr. Lorge but denied he did anything improper.