The prosecution has now rested and the court-martial is in recess until tomorrow. Some highlights from today:
According to LTC Lakin, his former counsel, Paul Rolf Jensen, told him that although disobeying military orders would be consistent with Lakin’s thinking, he specifically said “I can’t ethically advise you to disobey” those orders. This testimony came during the providency inquiry and was not heard by the members; but it is part of the record and can be presented to them in sentencing.
The most damaging evidence of the day came during the testimony of the accused’s brigade commander, Colonel Gordon Roberts. The accused and Mr. Jensen came to visit with Colonel Roberts on March 30, 2010, but the colonel was attending to other matters and couldn’t meet with them then. When Colonel Roberts summoned Lakin to his office the following day, he received this response: “You had your chance.” This testimony was before the members, and Colonel Sullivan is of the opinion that the accused’s insolence toward his commander — a Medal of Honor recipient — did not go over well at all.
On the contested offense, the defense theory appears to be that no one told the accused to be on the flight alleged on the charge sheet. If true, it would be difficult to see how the prosecution could secure a conviction in light of United States v. Kapple, 40 M.J. 472 (C.M.A. 1994), as we discussed last month here. According to Colonel Sullivan, the defense appeared to making some headway — no one said they specifically told the accused to be on that specific flight — until the next-to-last witness, LTC Christine Edwards. She testified that the brigade commander told her to tell Lakin ”his place of duty is on that airplane.” She said that’s the order she relayed to the accused.
We will see if he testifies to a contrary version of events tomorrow.
SPECIAL NOTE: Colonel Sullivan and civilian attorney and military justice maven Phil Cave will be on blogtalkradio tonight at 2100 EST to discuss the day’s events. Should be lots of additional insights and analysis to be had then.