Sources tell me a Kentucky defense attorney is not only trying to get a local prosecutor disqualified from the case in which her client is set to stand trial Oct. 22 on a charge of bigamy, but she’s also trying to get her client’s trial date pushed back until after a military trial begins at Fort Campbell, Ky. Not surprisingly, her efforts could have a serious impact on that military trial.
During a pre-trial conference Wednesday, Hopkinsville, Ky., public defender Brandi Jones argued before Christian County Judge Andrew Self that Katherine (Garber) Foster, an assistant county prosecutor, should be disqualified from the case involving her client, because Foster testified during a military hearing Sept. 21-22.
What does Foster’s testimony during a military hearing have to do with her prosecution of a case in civilian court? For starters, Jones’ client in civilian court is also the woman behind allegations of sexual assault and abuse that could land her “ex-spouse,” Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin, in prison for 58 years* if found guilty during a military trial set to begin Dec. 1.
Foster testified 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; and
Foster 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.
Despite Foster’s testimony, Col. Andrew Glass, the military judge overseeing Major Martin’s case, denied the defense motion concerning prosecutorial misconduct. A surprise? Hardly. He’s the same judge who denied the vast majority of witness requests made by Major Martin’s attorneys. But I digress.
In addition to seeking Foster’s removal from the case, Jones asked Judge Self to give her additional time to review her client’s case.
Why would Jones ask the judge to delay delivery of swift justice to her client? Because her client, if found guilty prior to Major Martin’s military trial, might be called as a witness during that trial and be forced to wear an orange jumpsuit — or the Kentucky equivalent of that if orange isn’t the Bluegrass State’s color of choice for fashionable incarceration — while on the witness stand.
Would the military judge allow such a spectacle — a witness in an orange jumpsuit — in his court room? Probably not, because everyone knows convicted felons are not considered very trustworthy witnesses, and the leadership at Fort Campbell has a reputation to uphold.
CLOSING NOTE: On Monday afternoon, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Staff Judge Advocate’s office at Fort Campbell. Of course, they were not in the office due to it being a holiday (i.e., Columbus Day). I do hope, however, that they’ll jump on my request today and provide me with the items included in my request. That is, any and all print and/or electronic communications, including, but not limited to handwritten and computer-generated notes, letters, email messages and text messages, between any individual(s) assigned to the Staff Judge Advocate staff at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, including but not limited to Major Bashore, Captain Garrett, Major Jenny S. Whyte-Schlack and any civilian attorney(s) and/or their associates representing Major Martin’s accuser, an alleged bigamist known by several different names, in legal matters in Christian County.
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*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?”
UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:24 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 11:12 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.