Days after publishing a brief article about the hearing that took place Monday and Tuesday inside a military courtroom at Fort Campbell, Ky., I’m able to share more details about what took place as a military judge heard from attorneys on both sides about whether unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct have tainted the prosecution of Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin. This is Part One of a three-part series.
First, some background: Major Martin, 47, is an Army Ranger and attack helicopter pilot with a distinguished 29-year military career — including three combat tours in Iraq — under his belt. Soon after telling his “wife” he wanted a divorce, he found himself the target of serious allegations and multiple criminal investigations followed during the next three years. Today, he faces the possibility of 58 years in prison if convicted on the most recent charges stemming from his ex-wife’s allegations of sexual assault and abuse. Because there is much more to it than I can share in one paragraph, I recommend you read the overview article about the case published Sept. 4 before you read any further.
The Article 39A hearing, essentially a pre-trial hearing during which the parties hashed out details in advance of having panel members (i.e., jurors) present, began at 8 a.m. with attorneys on both sides meeting alone with Col. Andrew Glass, the military judge.
Ninety minutes later, attorneys began making arguments about potential evidence to be presented and potential witnesses to be called during the upcoming trial. More than four hours of banter and discussion followed until 2 p.m. when the opposing parties took a one-hour break for lunch. After returning to the courtroom, four hours of testimony began.
In the space below, I share details of the hearing based, in part, upon reports obtained from hearing attendees, none of whom happen to represent the prosecution which, to date, has opted to remain silent about the case.
ACCUSER’S SISTER TESTIFIES
The first witness called Tuesday afternoon was an older sister of Major Martin’s accuser. She was patched into the courtroom by phone from her California home.
During her time on the virtual witness stand, she began by telling the court she did not want to testify and had no opinion as to her sister’s credibility. In addition, she testified she had not seen her 40-something sister much since leaving home many years earlier but had visited her in 2006 when Major Martin was assigned to a unit in Germany. In part due to “issues” that surfaced during that European vacation, she said she and her sister have had little contact since 2006.
At the conclusion of the woman’s testimony, Major Martin’s attorneys presented an audio recording that revealed damning statements she had made during an April 2015 interview with a private investigator. The audio recording included a statement by the woman that her sister, Major Martin’s accuser, had been untruthful since childhood, had a propensity for making up stories for no apparent reason and could not be believed.
To read other articles about Major Martin’s case, click here.
FYI: Parts 2 and 3 of this series will be published Sunday at 8 a.m. and Noon Central, respectively.
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