Tag Archives: Bashore

Attorney Cites ‘Foul Smell in the Air’ Surrounding Effort to Link Army Officer to Multiple Murders Near Fort Campbell

As Bill Summers tells it, there’s a “foul smell in the air” in Christian County, Ky., and it stems from the way investigators and prosecutors are treating his client after several bodies were found in the small town of Pembroke, 30 minutes north-northeast of Fort Campbell.

Important Update at End of Article

This photo shows an Army depiction of court-martial proceedings in progress.

This photo shows an Army depiction of court-martial proceedings in progress.

Just before noon Thanksgiving Day, I had the opportunity to speak by phone with Summers, a veteran defense attorney who, along with a team comprised of several talented attorneys, private investigators and others, is helping Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin fight allegations made against him by his ex-wife. That woman, by the way, pleaded guilty in Christian County Court Oct. 14 to one felony count of bigamy (i.e., she admitted in court to having married Major Martin without telling him she was still married to another man) only weeks before the major’s military trial — on sexual assault and other allegations she made against him — was scheduled to begin at Fort Campbell.

Though not my first conversation with Summers since I began reporting in August about the prosecution effort that could send Major Martin to prison for as many as 10 years, it was, by far, the most interesting — especially in light of the fact prosecutors, perhaps as a sign of the weakness of their case, are no longer seeking up to 58 years imprisonment to follow a conviction.

Much of our conversation had to do with events that took place Thursday after local law enforcement investigators found human remains were found in a burned-out vehicle on the outskirts of town, and it began with Summers requesting I share his contact information with members of the Fort Campbell-area law enforcement community.

“Give them my cell phone number, 216-538-0135! Tell anyone who wants to speak with me I’ll be at the hotel on post for several more days, but not beyond Dec. 3.”

Why does Summers want them to call? Because, despite the fact officials with the Kentucky State Patrol, Hopkinsville (Ky.) Police Department and Christian County Sheriff’s Department have had his number since Nov. 20, Summers said, he’s “never got a call, telegram or carrier pigeon” request from any of them to talk. Adding insult to injury, he added that he was once left on hold for 45 minutes by Sheriff’s Detective Scott Noiseworthy.

And then our conversation really took off.

Summers relayed how local law enforcement officials traced the burned-out vehicle to Calvin Lee Phillips, 59, and, soon after, began searching his home at 443 South Main Street in Pembroke as well as another across the street, owned by Major Martin. While searching, however, the local officers were not alone.

Army CID Badge

“Army (Criminal Investigation Division) agents arrived on that scene and joined their non-Army colleagues as they searched the first house and, soon after, at Major Martin’s house,” Summers explained. “And that’s the problem! The Commonwealth of Kentucky had a multiple murder over which the U.S. Army had absolutely no authority or jurisdiction. What were they doing there?

“As a matter of law, the Army could never prosecute nor ever have any jurisdiction over him in connection with these off-post murders,” Summers continued. “Only if Major Martin were convicted of something could (the Army) take any action against him, and I have yet to see Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. Christian Martin on any court docket. So, again, why were they allowed in those homes?”

Asked if the presence of Army CID investigators on scene could be justified by the fact Phillips, whose body had been found dead from gunshot wounds inside his home, had partnered with Major Martin’s bigamist ex-wife in trying unsuccessfully to convince the FBI the Army officer was a thief and an international spy, Summers was quick with a response.

“All Law Enforcement personnel know how untouchable everything inside those homes was — especially by CID agents lacking jurisdiction,” Summers explained. “The KSP, Hopkinsville Police and the Christian County Sheriff all know about the scope and breadth of the attorney-client work product privilege and protected confidentiality, and they had to have been told something by CID agents as to why they were interested in the investigation.

“By allowing Army CID agents to enter these houses, especially Major Martin’s place, these local cops made it possible for them to take photos and otherwise gain access to information protected by attorney-client privilege.”

Summers went on to explain Army officials clearly knew they had no authority over the investigation and should not have entered either home. Still, they entered — under the guise of “assisting” their civilian colleagues — and provided “assistance” in the form of seizing Major Martin’s attorney-client privileged personal computer and work papers and removing them from his home.

“Even the dumbest lawyer in the world — and, yes, even Bashore — absolutely knows how sacred all of those items are/were!” Summers said. “They could not even look at the materials that fall under ‘attorney-client privilege,’ and every law enforcement officer on the scene should have known that — especially those in charge!”

Summers’ Bashore reference in the previous paragraph has to do with Army Maj. Jacob Bashore, the special victims prosecutor at Fort Campbell, who is leading the prosecution’s effort to convict Major Martin on nothing more than the word of his bigamist ex-wife. Summers believes the SVP was directly involved in the effort to get CID agents “in the door” of his client’s home.

Taking into account Major Bashore’s own sworn testimony and the sworn testimony of others — including Capt. James P. Garrett, the Army’s lead trial counsel; Katherine Garber-Foster, Christian County assistant prosecutor; and Laura Spencer, Major Martin’s fiancée — during recent months, Summers believes Major Bashore deserves to be kicked out of the Army, lose his law license and be prosecuted for numerous misdeeds he’s committed.

“In my professional opinion, Major Bashore is ruthless, has a reckless disregard for truth and should lose his license to practice law in Tennessee and anywhere else he might try!” he said.

Familiar with the tactics employed in 2009 by then-Captain Bashore during his wrongful 2009 prosecution of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart, I must agree. You can read about those tactics in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August. But I digress.

In addition to Bashore, Summers pointed his virtual finger at members of local law enforcement for some of their suspicious decision-making.

“We know for sure the (Christian County) Sheriffs Department were offered the security videos of the night after the murders but before the search, and refused,” he told me, referring to security cameras Major Martin had installed on the exterior of home a few doors down and across Main Street from Phillips’ home. “They seized them later with a search warrant! Why not when we offered them?”

Though Summers didn’t come right out and say it, I got the impression he’s concerned about the skill level of investigators who would delay taking possession of items that could, potentially, reveal much about the person(s) making noises that, at around 2 a.m. on the day Phillips’ body was found, caused Major Martin’s dog to, in his words, “wake up and go ballistic.”

The sheriff’s refusal to accept the cameras isn’t the only example of strange behavior on the part of civilian law enforcement. Along with colleagues from the Kentucky State Patrol, Summers said, they’ve refused other offers as well.

“I offered for (Major Martin) and I to sit down with the sheriff and the KSP, but without the Army,” Summers explained, noting the civilian investigators had expressed interest in interviewing Major Martin — but without his lawyer present. “I said, respectfully, he would be glad to appear but only with me present. They said ‘No deal if the Army can’t be part of the interview.’ Naturally, I said, ‘No Army or no interview!’”

Why is Summers so adamant about restricting his client, a 47-year-old attack helicopter pilot who served multiple combat tours in Iraq, to sit-down talks with non-Army investigators only? Because he doesn’t trust anyone associated with the Army’s investigation of his client, especially after seeing firsthand some of the underhanded and unethical legal tactics Major Bashore has employed.

According to Summers, Major Bashore was “exceedingly dishonest” with members of Major Martin’s defense team when, during a nine-hour period on the day after the bodies were found, they asked him multiple times about the major’s whereabouts. Only later did the defense attorney and his colleagues learn their client had been held for 11 hours without food and water at an undisclosed location at Fort Campbell as Army CID agents tried to “break him down.” Worth noting, the career Army officer remained under virtual “house arrest” on post for four days after members of his defense team learned of his whereabouts.

Summers said he will be submitting a motion to the military judge very soon, requesting that a new hearing be held during which he will explain to the military judge why he believes prosecutorial misconduct charges should be brought against Major Bashore and other members of the prosecution team.

Stay tuned for updates as they surface.

UPDATE 12/2/2015 at 8:02 p.m. Central:  According to an evening update to a report in The Leaf-Chronicle newspaper, the Christian County (Ky.) Sheriff’s Office confirmed today that Army CID agents were involved in the search of Major Martin’s home! Therefore, it appears they overstepped their authority and jurisdiction. Stay tuned to see what happens next!

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:15 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:09 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

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‘Thirty Days of Hell in the Life of an Accused Army Officer’

It became obvious Monday that “THE FIX IS IN” for Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin as the Army’s marches forward with its prosecution of the Regular Army officer on allegations he sexual assaulted and abused members of his family. Below, I offer a recap of my coverage of his case. Let’s call it “Thirty Days of Hell in the Life of an Accused Army Officer.”

Thirty Days of Hell

Though Major Martin’s “living hell” has been going on for more than three years, I only became aware of it after seeing a familiar name, Jacob D. Bashore, associated with his case.

On Aug. 27, I published a short piece — the first of 27 pieces — under the headline, Army Lawyer Surfaces in New Bogus Prosecution Effort.

After interviewing the 47 year old via Skype Sept. 2, I knew he would need the public’s help to get some form of military justice. The next day, I issued a plea under the headline, Soldier Facing 58 Years In Prison Needs Your Help! In addition, I promised I would provide more details.

In keeping my promise, I went “full tilt” on his case Sept. 4, beginning with a summary post, Army Soldier-Aviator Faces Possible 58-Year Sentence As Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Witch Hunt Seeks New Victim, in which I thought I had covered all of the major details of the story. In addition, I published the first three of 11 video clips from the aforementioned interview:

Gen. Raymont T. Odierno, USA Ret.

Gen. Raymont T. Odierno, USA Ret.

In an officer evaluation at Fort Lewis, Wash., several years ago, then-LTC Raymond T. Odierno described then-1LT Martin as a “top of the line” officer of “unquestionable integrity.” In video clip #1, I ask Major Martin how it felt as a young officer to receive such high praise from the man who would go on to become a four-star general and serve as chief of staff of the Army. It stands as a snippet of a more-serious conversation about his upcoming court-martial.

In video clip #2, Major Martin talks about his life before he signed on the dotted line.

In video clip #3, Major Martin talks about what it’s like to have had what many might consider a “dream job” — flying the world’s most-sophisticated attack helicopters and using weapons that “go boom.”

On Sept. 5, I published three more interview segments:

Major Martin and his first wife divorced amicably, and he maintains good relationships with her — now remarried — and their three children. After the divorce, he met a woman online. In video clip #4, he tells me about the early days of his relationship with the woman who would later accuse him of horrendous crimes.

Major Martin went to war three times and lived to tell about it. In video clip #5, however, he describes the beginning of another kind of battle he’s fighting, this time with the woman he thought was his legal wife. It’s a battle that reached the boiling point soon after he was assigned to the vaunted 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Major Martin accomplished a lot while wearing an Army uniform. Not only is he an elite Army Ranger, but he is a master Army aviator as well, having racked up some 1,000 hours of combat flying time, including 500 while using night-vision gear. In video clip #6, he describes what happened in his life after the woman he considered his legal wife went to the FBI and told agents he was an international spy.

Somehow, up until today, I had, for some inexplicable reason, overlooked publishing the seventh video in the series. So here it is:

In video clip #7, Major Martin and I discuss a second set of allegations made against him by the woman he considered his legal wife.

I published two more video installments Sept. 6:

Facing the toughest battle of his lifetime, Major Martin had the nerve to contact members of Congress after realizing the Army investigation into sexual assault allegations against him had turned into a witch hunt with him as the prey. In video clip #8, the veteran of three combat tours in Iraq describes the backlash that followed.

In a previous clip, I shared details about the backlash Major Martin felt after contacting members of Congress about the unfair prosecution he was enduring as a victim of the Pentagon’s sexual assault witch hunt. In video clip #9, he describes how then-Brig. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, acting commanding general at Fort Campbell at the time, reacted to two of his subordinates telling him they didn’t think the charges against Major Martin should go forward.

The last two videos went “live” Sept. 7:

Major Martin told me he asked his second wife for a divorce in 2012, and she retaliated by making unfounded allegations against him. During the years that followed, multiple investigations found no wrongdoing on his part, but that didn’t stop the man known as “Stammer the Hammer” from ordering him to face a court-martial. In video clip #10, the distinguished graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha ROTC program shares his thoughts about whether intense political pressure forced the general into taking the unwarranted action against him.

In video clip #11, the major reveals what his private investigators found that prompted officials in two states to file their own charges against his accuser. In addition, he reveals what Army investigators did in response.

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, gives Secretary of State John Kerry a tour of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 6.

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, gives Secretary of State John Kerry a tour of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 6.

Via email Sept. 8, I contacted now-Major General Stammer — yes, he received a promotion after decided to send Major Martin to trial (coincidence?) — at his new headquarters in the East African nation of Djibouti where he serves as commander of Africa Command‘s Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. I asked him to explain his decision to prosecute, and he responded as I suspected he would.

On Sept. 9, I offered an up-to-date summary of my coverage under the headline, If You’ve Ever Known An American Soldier….

In a piece published Sept. 10, I highlighted two topics, unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct, as reasons cited by Major Martin’s defense team for the charges against their client to be dismissed. One day later, I added more fuel to the fire of the defense argument in a piece under the headline, Attorneys Cite President’s Unlawful Command Influence, Seek Dismissal of Charges Against Army Helicopter Pilot.

On Sept. 15, I described how members of the national news media, politically-active filmmakers and attorneys are willing to overlook facts in order to promote an agenda. Inadvertently, I left out slimy politicians like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY). My mistake. The story, however, remains worth reading for those who like to deal in facts and truth. See Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics Used as Weapons Against Honorable Military Men in Sexual Assault Witch Hunt.

On Sept. 17, I shared details of a 754-word letter written by Major Martin’s sister and sent via email to General Stammer. Unfortunately, the well-written electronic letter only seems to have stoked the general’s anger. Within hours of receiving the letter, he was in contact with Army prosecutors who, in turn, began harassing Major Martin’s letter-writing sister.

On Sept. 20, I shared news that backs up claims that Major Martin’s accuser can’t be relied upon to tell the truth. The news appeared beneath the headline, Reportedly Decapitated in Logging Accident Almost 19 Years Ago, Man Ready to Testify on Behalf of Accused Army Officer.

News about Major Martin’s trial date being pushed back to Dec. 1 was the least interesting of several topics that surfaced Sept. 21 and 22. It was during a two-day hearing that Col. Andrew Glass, the military judge, heard arguments from attorneys on both sides regarding whether unlawful command influence and/or prosecutorial misconduct had tainted the case against Major Martin.

On Sept. 26, I published my first piece of hearing-related news which focused on the credibility of Major Martin’s accuser. The matter came to the fore when her older sister told the court via phone she did not want to testify and had no opinion as to her sister’s credibility. After that, the defense immediately played an audio recording on which the sister could be clearly heard telling a private investigator that her younger sister — again, 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.

The words above appeared in an email from Maj. Jacob D. Bashore to the local prosecutor, Katherine Foster.

The words above appeared in an email from Maj. Jacob D. Bashore to the local prosecutor, Katherine Foster. Click on image above to read story.

On Sept. 27, I shared two more pieces of news from the hearing. The first appeared under the headline, Local Prosecutor Says Fort Campbell Counterparts Tried to Pressure Her to Drop Charge Against Army Officer’s Accuser. The second appeared under the headline, Prosecutors Accused of Misconduct, Breach in Controversial Sexual Assault Case Against Army Officer at Fort Campbell.

On Sept. 28, while waiting for Colonel Glass to rule on the two topics –unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct — that were the subject of the two-day hearing, I shared another previously-unmentioned tidbit about about how the vast majority of defense witness requests were inexplicably denied by the military judge.

Later the same day, I shared more troubling news under the headline, The Fix Is In: Army Judge Denies Defense Motion Concerning Unlawful Command Influence, Prosecutorial Misconduct. Despite the fact the defense seemed to have presented strong cases for both unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct, Colonel Glass denied the defense motion that both elements were present in the case.

YOUR CALL TO ACTION

To show people in charge of this kangaroo court-martial effort how you feel about the case against Major Martin, contact your elected officials as well as the officials listed below and let them know the prosecution of this Soldier, who’s already been cleared of wrongdoing by multiple investigations, needs to end immediately:

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer
c/o CJTF-HOA Public Affairs Office
Phone: +253 21-359-523
Email: africom.cldj.cjtf-hoa.mbx.public-affairs@mail.mil

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky
c/o 101st Airborne Division
Bldg. 2700, Indiana Avenue
Fort Campbell, KY 42223
(270) 798-3025
Email: usarmy.campbell.93-sig-bde.list.public-website@mail.mil

Mr. Ashton Carter
Secretary of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400
https://kb.defense.gov/app/ask

Mr. Jon T. Rymer
Inspector General
U. S. Department of Defense
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-1500

John M. McHugh
Secretary of the Army
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

General Mark A. Milley
Chief of Staff, United States Army
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

Senator Rand Paul
167 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
(202) 224-4343
http://www.paul.senate.gov/connect/email-rand

Senator Mitch McConnell
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2541
http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm

Senator Lamar Alexander
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4944
http://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email

Senator Bob Corker
425 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3344
http://www.corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailme

COMING SOON: I’ll share comments from a civilian defense attorney who handles military clients. In short, he tells me Fort Campbell has become a choice location for Army prosecutors who are “venue shopping” — that is, looking for prosecution-friendly environments in which to practice their craft.

Stay tuned for more details, and 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.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:25 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:14 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Army Lawyer Surfaces in New Bogus Prosecution Effort

Though he might be familiar to those in Army legal circles, Maj. Jacob D. Bashore didn’t become known to me until about four years ago when I began investigating the wrongful prosecution and conviction of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart. Much to my surprise, his name surfaced again today — and in a similarly-negative context.

This photo shows an Army depiction of court-martial proceedings in progress, but is unrelated to the individuals mentioned in this article.

This photo shows an Army depiction of court-martial proceedings in progress, but is unrelated to the individuals mentioned in this article.

Bashore, whose name appears in an early chapter of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, was a captain at the time he appeared on my “radar screen” as the trial counsel who led the prosecution effort against Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran. What troubled me about his work — and became the reason I wrote the book — was that the prosecution was based almost solely on the false claims of rape and kidnapping made by a then-28-year-old German woman with a history of mental illness.

Despite a complete lack of physical evidence and eyewitnesses, and thanks largely to an inept military judge’s decision to proceed with the case after the accuser and German government officials refused to allow her medical records to be introduced to the court, Captain Bashore managed to win convictions on several lesser counts that resulted in Stewart being sentenced to eight years behind bars. Per the book’s title, that military trial took place during three days in August 2009.

Now, fast forward to today when Major Bashore’s name appeared on my radar as the special victim prosecutor assigned to the case of Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin, an Army officer assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Major Martin, who began his military career as an Army private and went on to become an officer and fly a range of attack helicopter missions in combat, is facing dubious allegations that could bring a stunning and disastrous end to his stellar 29-year military career. Moreover, guilty counts on all charges could result in him being sent to prison for 58 years* — a virtual life sentence!

Major Bashore, on the other hand, seems to be pursuing a conviction against Major Martin in much the same way he pursued Stewart six years ago; he seems willing to do and/or say anything to achieve a conviction while satisfying his Army superiors, many of whom seem more focused on keeping liberal politicians — namely U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), two bought-and-paid-for politicians who’ve apparently refused to read Lindsay L. Rodman’s well-written piece, Fostering Constructive Dialogue on Military Sexual Assault, published in Joint Force Quarterly 69 by National Defense University Press — than on achieving just outcomes inside military courtrooms.

Major Martin, however, is not sitting by idly while the Army constructs the casket inside which his career and freedom might be placed if he’s found guilty during a military trial expected to begin in October. In fact, I learned he’s spent close to $100,000 on lawyers and private investigators so far, and their efforts have turned up some incredible things.

Stay tuned for more details as I review documentation related to this monumental injustice that appears to be taking shape at Fort Campbell.

UPDATE 9/28/2015 at 8:53 a.m. Central: Read more about Major Bashore in this Sept. 27 article, Prosecutors Accused of Misconduct, Breach in Controversial Sexual Assault Case Against Army Officer at Fort Campbell. To read other articles about Major Martin’s case, click here.

UPDATE 9/29/2015 AT 9:17 a.m. Central: Major Bashore’s name also appears in this Sept. 28 article, The Fix Is In: Army Judge Denies Defense Motion Concerning Unlawful Command Influence, Prosecutorial Misconduct.

*UPDATE: After publishing this article, I learned Army prosecutors agreed to limit any possible punishment in this case to 10 years. A sign they have a weak case?”

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  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. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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