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Haditha Marine squad leader court-martial postponed

[JURIST] The court-martial of US Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich [advocacy website] was postponed indefinitely on Friday to allow prosecutors time to appeal a judge's decision to throw out a subpoena for unaired footage from a CBS interview with Wuterich. Military prosecutors argued that the additional footage contains information vital to the case, and that Wuterich may have admitted to his role in the killing 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive] in November 2005. In throwing out the original subpoena, the judge said last week that prosecutors possessed alternative means for acquiring any evidence relevant to the case. Wuterich was ordered [JURIST report] to face court-martial on December 31, and faces charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice. AP has more.

Wuterich was initially charged with unpremeditated murder, but the investigating officer in Wuterich's case recommended [JURIST report] last year that the more serious charge be dropped. An official report on the Haditha incident by US Army Major General Eldon Bargewell found "serious misconduct" [JURIST report] on all levels of the US Marine Corps chain of command.

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