Tag Archives: Article 39A hearing

Army Ranger-Aviator Fights Uphill Battle to Prove Innocence as Military Court Denies Vast Majority of Witness Requests

Over the weekend, I shared three new articles about some of the testimony that took place before Col. Andrew Glass at Fort Campbell, Ky., early last week. In short, the military judge heard arguments from attorneys on both sides about whether unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct had surfaced in the prosecution of Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin. Today, I share details about witnesses who were prevented from appearing and ask “Why?”

This graphic tells Maj. Christian "Kit" Martin's story in a nutshell. If justice doesn't prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

This graphic tells Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin’s story in a nutshell. If justice doesn’t prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

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.

Now, I’ll briefly recap what I shared over the weekend:

• The headline of the first article, Officer’s Accuser Described as ‘Untruthful Since Childhood’, neatly summed up the testimony of a California woman who is the sister of Major Martin’s accuser;

• The headline of the second article, Local Prosecutor Says Fort Campbell Counterparts Tried to Pressure Her to Drop Charge Against Army Officer’s Accuser, did the same; and

• In the third article, Prosecutors Accused of Misconduct, Breach in Controversial Sexual Assault Case Against Army Officer at Fort Campbell, I focused on the testimony of Army lawyers and whether they were being honest with the court.

While important testimony was spotlighted in the articles above, several other witnesses were prevented from testifying during 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. In fact, prosecutors objected to 19 out of 21 witnesses requested by the defense, and only a handful of those witnesses ended up being allowed to testify.

SENIOR OFFICERS DENIED AS WITNESSES

Among those prevented from testifying were Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the recently retired Army chief of staff shown in the center of the graphic above. If you’re thinking he might have been called as a means for the defense to bring in “star power,” think again. Back when Odierno was a mere lieutenant colonel at Fort Lewis, Wash., Martin was a young lieutenant AND his executive officer. In fact, in an officer evaluation, then-LTC Odierno described then-1LT Martin as a “top of the line” officer of “unquestionable integrity.”

Also deemed “off limits” by the court was Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, the man shown at right in the graphic above. A brigadier general (a.k.a., “one-star general”) at the time he made the decision to prosecute Major Martin, he soon earned a second star and a slot as commander of Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. It would have been interesting to hear his take on why he decided to pursue a conviction of Major Martin after investigations by multiple civilian and military agencies had found no substance in any of the accusations against the 29-year Regular Army officer.

In addition, it would have been interesting to hear General Stammer respond to the testimony of Major Martin’s letter-writing sister, Juliet Andes, whose name also appeared on the list of witnesses initially denied by the prosecution. Email evidence shows General Stammer alerted prosecution attorneys about her email within hours of receiving the electronic letter she had written to him. According to Andes, those prosecutors badgered her for days afterward.

I suspect courtroom observers would have salivated over the testimony of LTC Ryan P. O’Connor, a man who served as Major Martin’s brigade commander at the time allegations surfaced. The lieutenant colonel was denied as a witness, defense sources tell me, because he’d conducted his own investigation into the allegations and was known to have been appalled at the poor excuse for military justice he’d seen taking place before his eyes. Since being transferred from Fort Campbell to Fort Hood, Texas, he has steadfastly refused to reply to Major Martin’s investigators’ repeated attempts to contact him. Can’t blame him. He probably wants to safeguard his own career, too.

CIVILIAN PROSECUTOR DENIED AS WITNESS

Initially denied as a defense witness, Katherine (Garber) Foster, the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Attorney for Christian County (a.k.a., “the local civilian prosecutor”), was allowed to testify after she showed up in the courtroom on her own accord. Notably, she told the court Army prosecutors tried to pressure her to drop a bigamy charge against Major Martin’s Accuser. Makes one wonder if military prosecutors feared such prosecution might hurt the credibility of their star witness who, by the way, is set to go on trial Oct. 22 in Hopkinsville, Ky.

MILITARY INVESTIGATORS DENIED AS WITNESSES

Also on the list of witnesses who could have shed light on the weakness of the prosecution’s case are several individuals who investigated the allegations against Major Martin while working for civilian and military agencies.

For instance, it would have been interesting to hear Army Counter-Intelligence investigators testify about their investigation into allegations that Major Martin had been some kind of international spy. They could have told the court several things, including the following:

1) They could have told the court about how cooperative Major Martin had been during their six-month investigation which included surveillance and wiretapping as well as an extensive search of his off-post home;

2) They could have told the court about how the laptop allegedly stolen by Major Martin was inoperable and had been out of the Army inventory for seven years before his accuser and her new male friend, a former Army Supply officer, turned it over to the FBI; and

3) They could have told the court about how Major Martin had passed a three-hour polygraph exam they had administered.

Likewise, it would have been interesting to hear Army Criminal Investigation Command agents testify about how they had confirmed that the man who had fathered the first child of Major Martin’s accuser had, as she had long claimed, been decapitated in a logging accident in Oregon almost 20 years ago. Immediately after CID agents testified, it would have been interesting to see the shocked look on their faces when the reportedly-decapitated man walked into the court-room to testify as told investigators working on Major Martin’s behalf he is willing to do.

Finally, it would have been interesting to hear Military Police investigators explain why, during their investigation of allegations against Major Martin, they refused to accept documents and evidence he tried to deliver to them in an effort to further prove his innocence.

Stay tuned for more details. Meanwhile, be sure to read my other articles about Major Martin’s case.

Thanks in advance for reading and sharing the article above and those to follow, and please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Local Prosecutor Says Fort Campbell Counterparts Tried to Pressure Her to Drop Charge Against Army Officer’s Accuser

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 Two of a three-part series.

Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin stands in front of his AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter in Balad, Iraq, in 2008. Though he’s piloted a many of the U.S. Army’s most-sophisticated attack helicopters, nothing prepared him for his battle with the military justice system.

Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin stands in front of his AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter in Balad, Iraq, in 2008. Though he’s piloted a many of the U.S. Army’s most-sophisticated attack helicopters, nothing prepared him for his battle with the military justice system.

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.

LOCAL CIVILIAN PROSECUTOR TESTIFIES

In addition to the testimony highlighted in Part One of this series, more damning testimony surfaced when defense attorney Katherine Demps questioned Katherine (Garber) Foster, the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Attorney for Christian County (a.k.a., “the local civilian prosecutor”).

Foster testified Tuesday afternoon that she had been contacted in October and November 2014 by two of the Army attorneys involved in prosecuting Major Martin: Maj. Jacob D. Bashore, the special victims prosecutor who was the subject of my Aug. 27 article, Army Lawyer Surfaces in New Bogus Prosecution Effort; and Capt. James P. Garrett, the lead prosecutor.

Foster also told the court she had felt pressured by both officers to drop her bigamy case against Major Martin’s accuser who, it turns out, appears to have never gotten a divorce from the father of her two youngest children before she married the major.

Regarding Major Bashore, specifically, Foster testified that he had contacted her repeatedly by email and phone.

One example of Major Bashore’s pressure can be found in the wording of an email exchange between Foster and the SVP, a copy of which I obtained. The exchange began with Foster contacting Major Bashore about an Army-related “bigamy and fraud question.” The words of her initial inquiry, stamped Oct. 7, 2014, at 4:19 p.m., appear below with the name of the accuser redacted and only minor formatting modifications:

“Major Bashore, I hope all is well at Fort Campbell! I have a rather interesting case, the victim being a soldier, Major Chris Martin, and his ex-wife, who is charged with bigamy. I am aware that he is under investigation by the military for claims of sexual assault by the ex-wife. Long, long, long story short, I was wondering if the military would ever prosecute the ex-wife for fraud since she obtained military benefits as a spouse while actually being married to another man. Thoughts?”

Barely 24 hours later (Oct. 8, 2014, at 5:04 p.m.), Major Bashore replied as follows:

“Hey, sorry for the delay. Been in trial the last two days. MAJ Martin is being court-martialed for the sexual abuse of his children, for assaulting his children and his former wife, and for some purely military offenses. MAJ Martin seems to be making a cottage industry for himself on being a ‘victim.’ But, no, we couldn’t prosecute the wife even if we wanted to as the military does not have jurisdiction over civilians.”

He closed his email with a telling question:

“Are y’all really going after her?”

Appearing to hold no punches while maintaining her demeanor, Foster replied the following day at 9:13 a.m:

“Yes, sir. Right now she has bigamy charges, and we are also looking to indict her on Tampering with a Witness stemming from her hearing in Family Court in 2012. Although I have only met with (Major Martin’s accuser) in the past and had not spoken with Major Martin until this week, I’ve been aware of their issues for the past two years, and I honestly find her behavior concerning. Major Martin’s attorney has been unsuccessful in finding any certificate for divorce on file in the four different counties in which (Major Martin’s accuser) has alleged that her divorce may have been granted. Additionally, (Major Martin’s accuser) and her attorney have not been able to produce any documents pertaining to a divorce despite repeated requests from Major Martin’s attorney. Judge Fleming annulled the marriage on June 11, 2014, and a finding of fact in that action is that (Major Martin’s accuser) was still married to (name of first husband of Major Martin’s accuser) when she married Major Martin.”

Regarding Captain Garrett, Foster testified she felt he had been “intense” with her and said she was insulted by his demeanor. In addition, she told the court she had spent 45 minutes telling Captain Garrett she had personally witnessed the Sept. 18, 2012, hearing during which Major Martin’s “wife” attempted to obtain an Emergency Protective Order against Major Martin. She told the court she concluded that Major Martin’s accuser was untruthful and had committed witness tampering with her children.

Apparently, Army prosecutors don’t like the local civilian prosecutor’s plan to prosecute Major Martin’s accuser because it weakens their case against the Regular Army officer.

On the second day of the hearing, Captain Garrett was asked why he had contacted Foster and why he should not be held in account for an apparent Brady Violation for waiting 60 days to inform the defense of his communication with Foster.

Worth noting: Major Martin’s attorneys have filed disciplinary complaints against Major Bashore and Captain Garrett in the states of Tennessee and Texas where they are, respectively, licensed to practice law. Also worth noting is the fact that Foster’s testimony seems to dovetail with the information I shared in my aforementioned Sept. 4 article, including news about the arrest of Major Martin’s accuser, her release on $5,000 bond and an Oct. 22 trial date being set for her case.

The local civilian prosecutor wasn’t the only person to testify about having an uncomfortable conversation with Army prosecutors. Two Army officers at Fort Campbell testified about the advice they received from the legal officers.

Maj. Lance Fountain, acting commander of the unit to which Major Martin was assigned, testified that Captain Garrett had advised him to not allow the accused officer to take leave (a.k.a., “earned vacation time”) so that he could meet with his defense attorneys two weeks prior to his first court-martial-related hearing in April 2015. Soon after Major Fountain testified, an audio recording of a conversation between the two majors was played in the courtroom for all to hear. The subject: Captain Garrett and the prosecution team’s efforts to block Major Martin from taking leave since June 2014. According to courtroom insiders, it clearly shows prosecutorial misconduct.

Another officer, Lt. Col. Nickolaus Guran, testified that he, too, had refused to approve some of Major Martin’s leave requests based upon advice from Army prosecutors. In addition, he testified that the major had not received initial written counseling and had not been assigned a duty position until six months after he had been assigned to his battalion.

To read other articles about Major Martin’s case, click here.

Thanks in advance for reading and sharing the article above and those to follow, and please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Officer’s Accuser Described as ‘Untruthful Since Childhood’

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.

This graphic tells Maj. Christian "Kit" Martin's story in a nutshell. If justice doesn't prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

This graphic tells Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin’s story in a nutshell. If justice doesn’t prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

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 Hearing

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.

Damning indeed.

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.

Thanks in advance for reading and sharing the article above and those to follow, and please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.