Defense counsel for CDR Bryce Benson, the former USS Fitzgerald CO, filed a wide ranging motion to dismiss claiming unlawful command influence at the highest levels of the Navy (Navy Times coverage here). Navy Times reports that the motion asks for dismissal of all charges based on conduct by the CNO, VCNO, Navy JAG (Vice Admiral Crawford), and others:
In a 28-page filing punctuated by broadsides against the Navy’s top leaders, Benson’s defense attorneys take aim at both Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran for statements that blamed Benson for the June 17, 2017, disaster that killed seven sailors.
“CNO and (VCNO), in coordination with other senior Navy leaders, have so frequently blamed Commander Benson for his ship’s collision that no panel could fairly sit at his court-martial,” attorney Lt. Cmdr. Justin Henderson wrote in a motion filed Wednesday.
More to follow. Anyone that can send us a copy of the motion, please do.