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Gitmo judge sentences Marine general lawyer for disobeying orders

MiamiHerald / The USS Cole case judge Wednesday found the Marine general in charge of war court defense teams guilty of contempt for refusing to follow the judge’s orders and sentenced him to 21 days confinement and to pay a $1,000 fine.

Air Force Col. Vance Spath also declared “null and void” a decision by Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker, 50, to release three civilian defense attorneys from the capital terror case. The lawyers resigned last month over a covert breach of attorney-client privilege involving something so secretive at the terror prison that the public cannot know.

Wednesday evening, with Baker confined to his quarters in a trailer park behind the courthouse, Judge Spath issued another order: Directing the three lawyers – Rick Kammen, Rosa Eliades and Mary Spears – to litigate Friday in the death-penalty case against Abd al Rahim al Nashiri remotely from the Washington D.C., area by video feed to Guantánamo.

Baker is the chief defense counsel for military commissions, and the second highest-ranking lawyer in the Marine Corps. He had excused Kammen, Eliades and Spears from the case on ethical grounds, and refused to rescind the order -prompting the judge to find him in contempt of court. Baker also invoked a privilege stemming from his oversight role and refused Spath’s order to swear an oath and testify in his court.

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