CAMP LEJEUNE, NC (AP) – A former Marine battalion commander pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conduct unbecoming an officer after complaining about the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in online videos that made him well known in conservative political circles.
At a court martial at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller pleaded for charges that also include failure to follow an order or regulation, his attorney Tim Parlatore said in a message. text. A sentencing hearing followed the morning proceedings and was adjourned late Thursday afternoon. It will resume on Friday morning, when a decision is awaited.
Speaking on his own behalf, Scheller told a judge he made his comments “because I thought it was in the long-term best interests of the Marine Corps,” the Jacksonville Daily News reported. .
Scheller said he went public instead of going through “the proper channels” because otherwise his complaints would not have been heard by the Commander of the Marine Corps, the US Secretary of Defense or the US public.
“At no time did I plead for the violent overthrow of the government,” he said. “At no point did I say I was going to use violence.”
In a video posted Aug. 26 to Facebook, Scheller said he was prepared to risk his career to call on military leaders about the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 13 US soldiers were killed in Kabul.
“I am ready to throw everything away to tell my senior leaders: I demand accountability,” he said in the video while wearing a camouflage uniform.
Scheller followed up on the comment with a series of social media posts, including an Aug. 29 video in which he resigned from his commission and said “Follow me and we’ll bring down the whole … system.” On Thursday, he said the remark was meant “in a constitutional way.”
Scheller continued to speak out and on September 27 he was remanded in custody at Camp Lejeune.
After his videos attracted many views, he was the subject of a fundraising campaign and received support from a nonprofit legal defense fund for former military personnel.
In support of support, two Republican members of Congress testified on her behalf Thursday – Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia by teleconference and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas in person, the Jacksonville Daily News reported.
âNo one confessed. No one has taken responsibility “for the situation in Afghanistan,” Gohmert said, adding that the judge should take into account that Scheller “is an honest man” when convicting him.
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