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Military jury begins deliberations in Abu Ghraib intelligence officer court-martial

[JURIST] The military jury in the case against US Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan [CBS profile; JURIST news archive] began deliberations Monday to decide charges against Jordan relating to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal [JURIST news archive]. During closing arguments in Jordan's court-martial, the government said that Jordan is on trial for failing to properly train and oversee his soldiers while at the prison facility. Jordan's lawyer said during closing that one of the government's top witnesses, Maj. Donald Reese, lied that Jordan endorsed stripping prisoners as part of their interrogation "to deflect blame" away from himself.

Jordan is the only commissioned officer charged in connection to the abuse that occurred at the Iraqi prison. Last week, Jordan pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to cruelty and maltreatment and other charges stemming from the scandal. Prosecutors dropped two charges [JURIST report] after new evidence came to light that Jordan provided statements to an official investigating the Iraqi prison abuse allegations without being properly read his rights, making his statements inadmissible. In his 2004 report [PDF text; JURIST report], Maj. Gen. George R. Fay recommended that Jordan and his superior Col. Thomas Pappas [official profile] be punished for their roles in the abuse scandal. Pappas was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony against Jordan. Pappas testified during Jordan's Article 32 hearing [JURIST report] that Jordan was concerned that he did not have the proper training or experience to assume his role running the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] at Abu Ghraib. AP has more.

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