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US Marines intel officer to face May court-martial on Haditha charges

[JURIST] US Marine 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson [defense website] will face court-martial in May on charges of making false official statements and obstruction of justice in connection to the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive] in November 2005. During Grayson's Wednesday arraignment [press release] at Camp Pendleton, a military judge set a trial date of May 28. Grayson did not enter a plea on the charges [JURIST report], which also include attempting to fraudulently separate from the Marine Corps.

A defense lawyer for Grayson, an intelligence officer accused of mishandling an investigation into the killings, said in September 2007 that Grayson rejected a plea offer [JURIST report] from military prosecutors requiring him to admit attempting to cover up the killings in exchange for prosecutors dropping all charges. He is accused of allegedly ordering a subordinate to delete photographic evidence [JURIST report] taken hours after the killings to keep it out of a report being prepared for top-ranking officers and a reporter. Eight Marines were initially charged in connection to the Haditha incident, though charges have since been dropped against four. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich [advocacy website], leader of the squad implicated in the killings, will face court-martial in February [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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