Associated Press Report on USMC Sgt. Stein’s Hearing
Associated Press via New York Times * April 06 2012
Note from Elias Alias: I received a call from Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, at midnight on April 05, 2012, as Stewart has departing the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton, California, after a long day in formal hearings about charges against Sgt. Gary Stein. Stewart briefly told me that the event was very long, and that “things did not go well for Sgt. Stein”. Stewart is now traveling across several States, but he may furnish a recap of yesterday’s proceedings. If he does so, I’ll update this article or post a new and more comprehensive article. For the moment, we would like to make available to readers the first coverage we’ve seen today.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — A military board has recommended dismissal for a Marine sergeant who criticized President Barack Obama on his Facebook page, including allegedly putting the president’s face on a “Jackass” movie poster.
The Marine Corps administrative board said after a daylong hearing late Thursday at Camp Pendleton that Sgt. Gary Stein has committed misconduct and should be dismissed.
The board also recommended that Stein be given an other-than-honorable discharge. That would mean Stein would lose his benefits and would not be allowed on any military base.
The board’s recommendations go to a general who will either accept or deny them. If the general disagrees with the board, the case could go to the secretary of the Navy.
Stein’s lawyers argued that the 9-year Marine, whose service was to end in four months, was expressing his personal views and exercising his First Amendment rights.
“We’re truly surprised and disappointed but it was an honor to fight for a hero like Sgt. Stein and every other Marine’s right to speak freely,” Stein’s defense attorney Marine Capt. James Baehr said.
Stein addressed board members during Thursday’s hearing, tell them he loved the Marine Corps and wanted to re-enlist, Baehr said.
Baehr expressed hope that the recommendation would be rejected by the general, saying the case will go forward. “The issues are too important for this to end today,” he said.
During the hearing, the prosecutor, Capt. John Torresala, said Stein went as far as superimposing images of Obama’s face on a poster for the movie “Jackass.”
Torresala argued that Stein’s behavior repeatedly violated Pentagon policy that limits the free speech rights of service members, and said he should be dismissed after ignoring warnings from his superiors about his postings.
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