A leaked email from a Washington D.C.-based attorney working on the Haditha case shows Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich’s defense team made an unsuccessful attempt to gain support from Rep. Duncan D. Hunter to make “the whole case go away.”
An attorney involved in the matter told Patch that enlisting help from politicians is common in high profile cases.
Wuterich, a former Marine staff sergeant, who was tried of war crimes related to the 2005 killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, plead guilty in January to one charge of dereliction of duty by negligence and was and received a reduction of rank.
The hacker group on Wuterich’s defense lawyers in February and released numerous files, including a July 2011 email between attorney Mark Zaid and lead defense attorney Neal Puckett.
The circumstances around the remain privileged even though the files were illegally hacked, said Zaid, who was involved in Wuterich's defense team. He added that asking for political help is a conventional practice.
“In high-profile cases, even when criminal, that have an element of politicization surrounding them it is not at all uncommon, especially here in Washington, D.C., to engage in discussions with members of Congress,” he said.
Hunter didn’t react to the request, according to a follow-up email. One of Hunter’s staffers followed up on an attorney’s query but the congressman didn’t act on it, said spokesman Joe Kasper.