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Emails Show Haditha Attorneys Asked Hunter for Help

In the last remaining Haditha trial, attorneys sought political help—a conventional practice according to one lawyer involved.

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.

David B Secor May 04, 2012 at 09:21 PM
If readers click on the "July 2011 email" highlighted above in blue in this article, they can read Mr. Zaid, Frank Wuterich's attorney, in his own words. This "discussion" was, in my opinion, more than that. It seems to indicate Mr. Hunter's willingness to use his office as our congressman to aid an attempt to obstruct or impede justice. If attorney Zaid did, as the email indicates, contact a Hunter staffer who was also a former Marine, it is not known if that aide was "Mac" MacWilliams, a Hunter staffer on military affairs, who died from positional asphxia after his truck left Wildcat Canyon Road for unknown reasons on a Tuesday afternoon last December. Mr. Hunter must remember if it was Mr. McWilliams whom he allegedly told Zaid to contact. Mr. Hunter's spokesman, Joe Kaspar, retired Marine Colonel Wilson and Mr. Hunter himself should be investigated by responsible parties as to the lengths they might have gone to obstruct justice in the Wuterich criminal matter. The Haditha massacre was an insult to the professionalism of our Marine Corps and to the nation. Any attempt to cover-up or "make the case go away" is a disservice to both.
David B Secor May 04, 2012 at 09:27 PM
IAs a candidate for Mr. Hunter's congressional seat in District 50, some may accuse me of politicizing events. As Mr. Zaid himself said in the article, politization" had already been a factor. I disagree with Mr. Zaid in his contention that congressmen are alledgedly asked to intervene in an ongoing criminal investigation. That is not what a congressman who has sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution is allowed to do.
PhilM May 05, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Any "insult to the professionalism of our Marine Corps and to the nation" came about because of the promulgation of Al-Qaida propaganda by Tim McGirk through Jack Murtha and his useful idiots in DC and the Media. Suggest you avail yourself of the extensive details from http://DefendOurMarines.org -- this was the start of a group of attacks against out troops in that district. It was politics and propaganda that created that false meme of a "massacre".
David B Secor May 05, 2012 at 04:39 PM
PhilM> If you believe the actions of Wuterich were an example of Marine professionalism rather than an example of simple revenge killings of civilians including women and children, which is what it was, I disagree. Attempted cover-ups or a wall of silence are not examples of professionalism. Wuterich and his team were not under fire after the initial explosion that killed their comrade, were not under fire when they gunned down the six unarmed civilians that were standing outside the white car, and were not under fire when they went into those homes and murdered those civilians.
David B Secor May 05, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I should not have responded to PhilM's comment as it is a diversion from the article itself. The article concerns a congressman's alleged efforts to impede or obstruct justice. Commenters should stick to their views on that issue. Commenters who wish to post their views on the massacre itself, or whether it should have been covered up, as PhilM appears to suggest, should write their own blog on those issues. It's my view that a congressman should NEVER offer to try and make a criminal case "go away," even if the defendant is a fellow Marine. It is an abuse of his elected office.

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