Tag Archives: William L Summers

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.

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!

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Attorneys Cite President’s Unlawful Command Influence, Seek Dismissal of Charges Against Army Helicopter Pilot

In an earlier article, I highlighted unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct as reasons cited by defense attorneys William L. Summers and R. Tucker Richardson III to warrant the dismissal of all charges against their client, Army Maj. Christian “Kit’ Martin. In this piece, however, I focus only on what those same attorneys wrote about the current political environment and the impact it’s having on members of the U.S. military.

Major Christian "Kit" Martin is shown at the controls of an AH-64A Apache helicopter in Iraq.

Major Christian “Kit” Martin is shown at the controls of an AH-64A Apache helicopter in Iraq.

Taking up almost three pages of the 37-page Motion to Dismiss document dated June 28, the attorneys’ words speak volumes not only about the case of Major Martin, 47, but also about others like him, including Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, an elite Green Beret combat veteran whose life story and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

Without further ado, I share the attorneys’ words below while taking the editorial liberty of deciphering some of the military jargon as needed and adding a few notes:

Major Martin’s case is just another example of how far some commanders are willing to go to gain political favor. Brigadier General Mark Stammer’s* Memorandum, Policy Letter 7 dated October 4, 2013, was posted on the Fort Campbell Portal and distributed to all commanders. It states that any allegation of domestic violence will result in immediate steps, including a 12 point checklist. It then states that these are the minimum actions commanders will take, they can make more if they wish (hint). The allegation does not have to be proved and no evidence is required. This is definitely a guilty until proven innocent policy and clearly shows BG Stammer’s inherent bias with regard to alleged domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

*NOTE: the attorneys referred to Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer as “BG Stammer,” because he was a a brigadier general at the time the document was submitted. Today, he serves as commander of Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in Djibouti, located in East Africa.

Many commanders like Brig. Gen. Stammer are now circumventing standard Uniform Code of Military Justice procedures and overruling Investigating Officers as a means of covering themselves and preventing further congressional inquiry into changing the role of commanders in the UCMJ process. Some commanders are also sacrificing soldier’s careers and lives in order to gain political favor and earn their next star, as well as a means of facilitating the army downsizing process. The stench of elitism and double standards has most recently been revealed by the case of General (Ret.) David Petraeus. General Petraeus had an extra marital affair, maintained private Top Secret information at his home including undercover agent’s identities, Security Council notes, etc. and then went to his paramour’s house and turned over these same highly classified documents to her. After all of this he then lied about his actions to the FBI. In return he received only a two year probation and $100,000 fine. Compare his proven actions to MAJ Martin’s allegations of mishandling classified information and how his case has morphed from a divorce, to an EPO, to a spy investigation, and now into now a court martial with sexual allegations.

1. Presidential UCI

The Unlawful Command Influence of BG Stammer at Fort Campbell is just one of many military examples of UCI throughout the armed services starting with the Commander in Chief and working its way down. In fact a military court has already ruled that President Obama as Commander in Chief has exerted UCI. In the trial of United States vs. SH2 Ernest Johnson, the judge ruled that the President’s statements did constitute unlawful command influence.

The President stated “The bottom line is this; I have no tolerance for this, I expect consequences…they got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharge. Period.”

This is almost verbatim what has happened to MAJ Martin.

Judge Marcus N. Fulton** found that “the Presidents statement raises concern that a particular result is required and this impinges on a convening authority’s discretion to refer or not refer a case to court martial.” He also stated that “these words must be evaluated for their capacity to improperly influence or appear to influence those with roles” (in a court martial). The court found that the case of United States vs. Johnson and United States vs. Simpson that the Presidents statement did “present some evidence of unlawful command influence.” He further found that the Presidents statement “could be interpreted as administrative steps that ought to be taken in addition to the specified judicial action and punishment.” He also stated that “the overall atmosphere surrounding the topic of sexual assault in the military…tends to exacerbate rather than ameliorate the effect of the comments in question.”

**NOTE: One source for comments similar to those attributed to the judge above is this one.

Judge Fulton also said these statements “constitute some-indeed substantial-evidence that the President would tend to impinge on the discretion of the convening authority to come to an independent decision” (EX U Military Authority Article, EX V US. vs Ernst Johnson)

2. CSA General Odierno***

The Chief of Staff of the Army has stated that “Sexual assault is the greatest threat to our service.” As the U.S. Army is still engaged in combat operation in Afghanistan, Iraq, most of the Middle East, and facing huge potential adversaries in North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China, this shows how politically pressured senior commanders are to show they are taking sexual assault and domestic violence seriously. (EX W.)

http://archive.armytimes.com/article/20130610/NEWS06/306100038/Odierno-leaders- We-lost-soldiers-trust

***NOTE: General Odierno retired from the Army after the Motion to Dismiss was submitted. See also my video related to General Ordierno here.

3. BG Stammer

General Stammer asserted, that if assaults occur in his military jurisdiction, he insists that they stay there because he has-

“absolute trust, faith, and confidence in the chain of command and our judges that they will address these issues fairly and timely…The Commander… is the leader…he is singularly responsible… him and him alone…I am going to hold him personally accountable for doing his job. He is not going to have an excuse.” (EX X.)

In a June 16, 2013, article**** in the Fort Campbell Courier, General Stammer reportedly said,

“I believe that leadership responsibility and accountability are crucial to successfully addressing the sexual misconduct issue. Most important, we need responsible leadership to change the culture of even the slightest bit of tolerance for ill-disciplined and criminal behaviors.” (EX Y)

****NOTE: The article actually appeared in the June 6, 2013, issue of the cited newspaper.

4. Policy Letter 7

BG Stammer’s Policy Letter 7 shows blatant UCI in that it directs commanders to take negative actions against Soldiers based merely on an allegation, even if this is an obvious ploy by an ex-spouse, and even if they no longer live together. Among its many requirements it directs that commanders will issue a protective order, move the Soldier to the barracks, require them to turn in their private weapons, and consider separation from service. Commanders will also contact social workers, consult the Family Advocacy Program, trial counsel, the victim advocate program, etc. all based on one person’s allegation.

5. Billboard

Another obvious example of BG Stammer’s UCI at Fort Campbell was the recent picture of a male soldier on an electronic billboard. The billboard was in front of the Family Resource Center directly across the street from the senior leadership housing at Gate 1, and the house of Acting Senior Commander BG Stammer. The message concerned sexual assault and depicted a male soldier, the sign read:

“Your new year’s resolution is to get the F$*K (bleep) away from him.” (EX Z.)

This billboard, along with BG Stammer’s public comments and interviews represent Undo Command Influence (UCI) of a personal interest and inflexible attitude toward Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Cases at Fort Campbell. (Article 37 sections III and IV). In January of 2015, the National Coalition for Men posted a picture of the billboard on their website and sent a letter to the CG, Major General Gary J. Volesky***** requesting the removal of the offensive picture and message, which thereafter rapidly occurred. (EX AA.)

*****NOTE: General Volesky is the commanding general at Fort Campbell now.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again: there’s much more to come for Major Martin, a man who put on his first military uniform as a private in 1986, marking the beginning of a career that would not only include serving as an Army Ranger, cavalry scout and attack helicopter pilot but also include becoming a Regular Army officer and serving three combat tours in Iraq.

Learn more about Major Martin and his case by reading this story as well as others. After you read them, please SHARE THEM and stay tuned for more updates!

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!

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Unlawful Command Influence, Prosecutorial Misconduct Cited as Reasons to Dismiss Charges Against Army Officer

Attorneys representing Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin cited unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct as reasons why all charges against their client, including charges of sexual assault, should be dismissed before their 47-year-old client goes on trial Oct. 12 Dec. 1 at Fort Campbell, Ky. If convicted on all counts, he faces the possibility of being sentenced to 58 years in prison.

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.

Among those alleged to have engaged in unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct, according to the motion to dismiss dated June 28, 2015, is Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, the former acting commanding general at the post who now serves as commander of Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in the East African nation, Djibouti. Others named are members of the Army prosecution team and include Special Victim Prosecutor Maj. Jacob D. Bashore, a man who was highlighted recently in a post under the headline, Army Lawyer Surfaces in New Bogus Prosecution Effort, and Capt. James P. Garrett, the lead prosecutor in the case.

Beginning on page 14 of the motion, defense attorneys William L. Summers and R. Tucker Richardson III offer a recap of their UCI argument that focuses on actions taken by then-Brigadier General Stammer (Note: I’ve removed the names of Major Martin’s accuser and her family members. In addition, I’ve deciphered a few Army acronyms as necessary):

The entire case and charges against MAJ Martin are solely the result of undo command influence by BG Mark Stammer as part of his personal agenda to make a name for himself in the current politically charged environment of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military. He has done this continually by repeatedly starting new investigations by new agencies against MAJ Martin and pushing all related allegations to a court martial, regardless of the recommendations of his Article 32 Investigating Officer (IO), Special Victim Prosecutor, lead Prosecutor, Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, and even the recommendations of the alleged “victims.”

A review of MAJ Martin’s timeline shows that all the actions taken against him were done in retribution for his and his family’s Congressional Requests, his Inspector General complaint, and his family and friend’s correspondence and complaints to BG Stammer and his supervisors. The “evidence” against MAJ Martin has been created through dubious and selective means while important facts showing the motives and past history of his ex-“wife” Ms. (accuser and her two aka’s) doing the exact same techniques of using and then “burning” men, like (accuser’s first legal husband and father of accuser’s second and third child), has been ignored. (Accuser’s first legal husband) will testify that after spurious allegations were alleged by (accuser), she took his children, two daughters, and has secreted them for over twelve years. He will testify.

The Fort Campbell Prosecution feloniously interfered in civilian court proceedings in order to try and have MAJ Martin’s “ex’s” pending felony charge of bigamy dismissed in Tennessee and Kentucky courts so that they could continue to prosecute him, a violation of ethics and Posse Comitatus that limits the powers of the federal government in using its military personnel to act as domestic law enforcement (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152).

In fact MAJ Martin’s entire case has been created and recreated by the Prosecution and Army Criminal Investigation Division when they were ordered to open a third new investigation against him by BG Stammer on 2 April 2014, 18 months after he had separated from (accuser) and after he had previously been cleared by civilian law enforcement, child protective services, civilian court under Judge Flemming, and Army Counter Intelligence (CI).

Army CI conducted a secret six month investigation and surveillance on him based solely upon the accusations of (accuser). They had thoroughly interrogated him and searched his house, with his expressed consent. MAJ Martin later passed a three hour polygraph examination conducted by CI experts flown in from Fort Meade (Sep 19, 2013). At the conclusion of the polygraph MAJ Martin was told by Agent Harris that he “would hear no more about any of his ex’s accusations.” Despite all of this, BG Stammer consistently involved and re-involved himself in MAJ Martin’s case. He had him re-assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, secretly flagged him, fired him from his position, punished him, had him report daily to a junior officer with no assigned position, and then had MAJ Martin continually reinvestigated over and over again until BG Stammer could get the false statements he needed from (accuser) to justify a court martial.

On 11 July 2014, the charges were reviewed at an Article 32 pre-trial investigation. Despite the Defense not fighting any charges, only recording statements, on 3 August 2014, the investigating officer recommended that none of the sexual charges be referred to a court-martial as there were not reasonable grounds to go forward and witness testimony did not match the timelines and evidence given. The Prosecution then dropped (accuser’s) allegations of rape and sodomy on their own accord, because they knew she was a patently untruthful. Her Article 32 testimony changed repeatedly so often it was obviously a reckless disregard for the truth by her.

Despite this, BG Stammer overruled this recommendation and insisted all allegations should be resolved at a Court Martial. When MAJ Martin was later advised by his attorneys to resign, with the recommendation of the Prosecution including Special Victims Prosecutor MAJ Bashore, the lead prosecutor CPT Garrett, and even the alleged “victims” (accuser and her children), BG Stammer once again overruled them and demanded a Court Martial (EX CC, Memo ).

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer

Further into their motion to dismiss, the defense attorneys highlighted specifics of the alleged UCI violations by General Stammer and prosecutors. Rather than stretch this out to include everything in the 37-page document, I’ll offer some of the allegations as bullet points:

• Acting outside of Army jurisdiction;

• Reassigning Major Martin after he lodged a Congressional inquiry about his situation;

• Launching a second investigation of Major Martin by Military Police Investigations (MPI) after the major had been cleared by a lengthy Army CID investigation;

• Retaliating against Major Martin after being contacted by the major’s father and sister, both Air Force retirees;

• Violating Major Martin’s right to due process;

• Creating a court-martial by initiating a third investigation;

• Witness tampering/obstruction of justice;

• Witness intimidation (at least two instances); and

• Illegal search.

There is much more to come for Major Martin, a man who put on his first military uniform as a private in 1986, marking the beginning of a career that would not only include serving as an Army Ranger, cavalry scout and attack helicopter pilot but also include becoming a Regular Army officer and serving three combat tours in Iraq.

Learn more about Major Martin and his case by reading this story as well as others. After you read them, please SHARE THEM and stay tuned for more updates!

This article was updated to reflect a change in the trial date.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:27 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 11:15 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

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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