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England court-martial begins; judge to allow implicating statement

[JURIST] Court-martial proceedings against Pfc. Lynndie England [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive], 22, one of the highest-profile but lowest-ranking suspects in the Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] prison abuse scandal, began Wednesday in Fort Hood, Texas, with jury selection and opening statements. England faces seven counts of abuse and conspiracy in connection with actions depicted in widely published photos [JURIST report]. Unlike other defendants in the scandal, she has opted for a jury made up entirely of officers. Her defense, however, has already been complicated by a ruling by presiding Judge Col. James Pohl late Tuesday that prosecutors can use a statement that she made to investigators that implicates her in the abuses. Pohl had previously indicated that the statement and another similar one would not be admissible [JURIST report] because England allegedly did not understand the consequences of her actions. The first witnesses in the case are expected to begin testifying Thursday. AP has more.

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