Tag Archives: wiretapping

Is Army Trying to Destroy Officer’s Chance for Fair Trial?

In a previous report today, I shared an update about the discovery of several dead bodies in Pembroke, Ky., and how Army Criminal Investigation Division agents have made it virtually impossible for Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to obtain a fair trial as he prepares to fight sexual assault charges levied against him by the Army. Below, I share a treasure trove of disturbing, never-before-published details about recent events in the case.

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.

Speaking on condition I not reveal his identity, my confidential source revealed the following:

• Major Martin has a “police dog (not sure what breed)” named “Sarge,” who went ballistic after being awakened around 2 a.m. Thursday. That’s about the same time when, according to one local news report, witnesses told investigators they had heard a noise coming from the area where two badly-burned bodies were found inside a car several hours later.

• Major Martin was working on post early Friday afternoon between 1 and 2 p.m. (Central) when he was picked up by Army Criminal Investigation Command agents who then seized his truck, his papers and his personal computer which, by the way, has served as the “central repository” for his legal defense and contained all of his legal files dating back to Sept. 6, 2013. In short, Army CID agents had access to every piece of paper and file involved in the major’s defense, constituting an incredible breach of attorney-client privilege.

• Photograph evidence exists to show Army prosecutors took files from Major Martin’s home.

• One of the files on Major Martin’s computer is an audio file recorded by the major during a phone conversation between a private investigator hired by the major and a relative of the major’s accuser and ex-wife — yes, the same woman who recently pleaded guilty in Christian County Court Oct. 14 to a felony count of bigamy after it was discovered she was still married to her previous husband at the time she married the major.

• Major Martin was held for 11 hours without food or water in an attempt to break him down after his apprehension by Army CID agents. During that time, Army Major Jacob Bashore, the special victims prosecutor handling the case against the major, reportedly failed to provide honest answers to members of the major’s defense team when, during a nine-hour period Friday, they contacted him repeatedly while in search of information about the major’s whereabouts.

• Major Martin volunteered to provide investigators from the Christian County Sheriff’s Office footage from his home security system’s multiple surveillance cameras that might have recorded events in the neighborhood that evening, but those cameras were removed by Army CID investigators before the sheriff’s officers could access the footage.

In addition to the items highlighted above, my source told told me multiple bodies were found inside the burned-out vehicle, and that was later confirmed by a spokesperson for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office who, according to a news report Monday, said the bodies in the burned-out vehicle were those of Calvin Phillips and his wife, Pam Phillips. The husband and wife lived at the home, across the street and a few doors down from Major Martin’s home, where investigators found the body of another man inside Thursday.  Correction: I misread the news report cited earlier in this paragraph (i.e., Miller says investigators have still not positively identified the body of the male victim found inside the home of Calvin and Pam Phillips at 443 South Main Street in Pembroke. A new news report confirms Calvin Phillips’ body was found inside his home on Main Street.)

According to my source, the man whose body was found at the Phillips home was a man who lived in the neighborhood and was likely to have been called to testify for the defense during Major Martin’s upcoming military trial, set to begin Dec. 1. See correction above.

The Phillips, too, were expected to be called as witnesses during the trial. Why? Because, as I reported in a previous article, Calvin is the man who stood with the major’s accuser in telling the FBI the major was a thief and an international spy. The “evidence” they turned in to the FBI as allegedly belonging to Major Martin consisted of an inoperable laptop computer that turned out to have been out of the Army’s inventory for seven years and several compact discs upon which had been scrawled words intended to indicate the CDs contained classified information.

Though the extremely-serious allegations prompted FBI officials to pass along the information to Army CID investigators, those investigators determined the allegations false after conducting an extensive six-month investigation which, unbeknownst to Major Martin as it was taking place, included surveillance and wiretapping as well as an extensive search of his off-post home.

As things stand now, Major Martin’s military trial is set to begin Dec. 1 at Fort Campbell, Ky., home to the vaunted 101st Airborne Division.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:17 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 11:11 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

Stay tuned for updates!

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Multiple Bodies Found Near Fort Campbell as Army Officer’s Trial on Sexual Assault Charges Only One Week Away

It would be an understatement of epic proportions to say only that things have gotten more interesting since I published the first of more than three-dozen articles related to the efforts of Army’s efforts to prosecute Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin, 47, on sexual assault allegations. Why? Because so much more, including several mysterious deaths, has happened since then.

According to a local news report published early Thursday afternoon and updated some 27 hours later, human remains were found in two separate locations in Christian County, Ky., early Thursday morning and people began speculating as to whether or not a connection exists between the prosecution of Major Martin and the individuals found dead.

In another local news report today, a spokesman for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the remains found inside a burned-out vehicle off Rosetown Road on the outskirts of the town of Pembroke, Ky., were those of Calvin and Pam Phillips. Correction: I misread the news report cited earlier in this paragraph (i.e., Miller says investigators have still not positively identified the body of the male victim found inside the home of Calvin and Pam Phillips at 443 South Main Street in Pembroke. A new news report confirms Calvin Phillips’ body was found inside his home on Main Street.)

According to the first news report, local law enforcement officials traced the burned-out car to the Phillips’ home at 443 South Main Street in Pembroke, a town located about 30 minutes north-northeast of Fort Campbell, Ky., home to the vaunted 101st Airborne Division. Soon after, they visited that home and found the body of another person — identified only as a man to date — who appeared to have suffered a gunshot wound to his chest. See correction above.

Perhaps of interest to anyone following the case is the fact Major Martin lives only a few doors down and across the street from the Phillips home. In addition, Calvin Phillips is the man who stood with the major’s accuser and ex-“spouse,” in telling the FBI the major was a thief and an international spy. FYI: I placed the word, spouse, in quotes, because she 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). The “evidence” the pair turned in to the FBI — as allegedly having belonged to Major Martin — consisted of an inoperable laptop computer that turned out to have been out of the Army’s inventory for seven years and several compact discs upon which had been scrawled words intended to indicate the CDs contained classified information.

Not surprisingly, the extremely-serious allegations prompted FBI officials to pass along the information to investigators at Army Criminal Investigation Command. Those officials, in turn, conducted an extensive six-month investigation which, unbeknownst to Major Martin as it was taking place, included surveillance and wiretapping as well as an extensive search of his off-post home. In the end, the allegations were proven to be false.

TIPS RECEIVED

After news broke about the bodies being found in Christian County, I was contacted by an individual at Fort Campbell who, having read my series of articles about Major Martin, informed me the major had been arrested Friday by “CID agents with guns drawn.”

In my effort to confirm whether or not Major Martin had, indeed, been arrested, I fired off the inquiry below to Army LTC Chevelle Thomas, a public affairs officer at Fort Campbell, early Monday afternoon:

Colonel Thomas:

I’d like answers ASAP to the following questions regarding Maj. Christian R. “Kit” Martin, a Soldier assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell:

1. Is Major Martin under some sort of confinement or “house arrest” at Fort Campbell? If so, please provide details about his current status, the reason(s) for it and the anticipated duration of such confinement.

2. Did investigators with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division staff at Fort Campbell participate in a search of Major Martin’s off-post home at any time during or since Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015? If so, please describe the reason for CID conducting a search of the major’s residence and their legal justification for the same?

3. Do CID investigators at Fort Campbell consider Major Martin a suspect in any recent off-post deaths, including one at a home in his neighborhood, reported over the weekend? If so, why?

4. Do Army officials plan to move forward with plans to conduct a military trial Dec. 1 with Major Martin as a defendant even though his accuser recently pleaded guilty to one felony count of bigamy in Christian County Court?

I was also contacted by another individual who, after requesting anonymity, told me CID agents joined local law enforcement investigators barely 90 minutes after they had begun searching the Phillips home and remained on scene there, and at the nearby house belonging to the major, as it was searched.

These observations appeared to be confirmed in the second news report which cited a Christian County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson as saying the investigations into the deaths remain in the hands of the Christian County Sheriff and Kentucky State Police, with some assistance from Fort Campbell.

While I wait for a response from Colonel Thomas at Fort Campbell, I point readers to more than three-dozen articles I’ve written during the past four months. They are about Major Martin’s case exclusively or about military justice cases in general. Eleven feature excerpts from a video interview I conducted with Major Martin, a highly-decorated attack helicopter pilot and combat veteran. Others tackle the issues of prosecutorial misconductunlawful command influence and the appearance that many Army officers seem bent on convicting a 29-year veteran despite knowing the allegations were made by a woman who’s life history reveals a pattern of deceit and betrayal.

In my next article, I’ll share many previously-unpublished details about the case that were shared with me by a confidential source close to the investigation. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: See also Is Army Trying to Destroy Officer’s Chance for Fair Trial?

UPDATE #2 11/24/2015 at 9:34 a.m. Central: At 9:10 a.m. today, I received the less-than-forthcoming reply (see below) from Colonel Thomas to my four questions submitted yesterday:

Sir,

Commanders of Fort Campbell have the authority to put administrative limitations within their command.  MAJ Christian Martin is currently pending a General Court Martial for 1-5 Dec 2015 time period. There have been no changes to the docket at this time.

Please refer to the Kentucky State Police Department or the Christian County Police Department for the other questions.

UPDATE #3 11/24/2015 at 4:12 p.m. Central: Approximately 40 minutes ago, I received an update from Colonel Thomas at Fort Campbell. She wrote, “MAJ Christian Martin’s General Court Martial has been officially delayed by the military judge as of today.  It has not been re-docketed so there is no new date to report at this time.” Does this mean the “wheels of justice” might finally be rolling in Major Martin’s direction? Only time will tell.

UPDATE #4 11/25/2015 at 8:59 a.m. Central: I posted a correction in the third paragraph above. It appears in red.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:17 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 11:11 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

Stay tuned for more!

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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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.

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