Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Watada Trial, Day Two: "Opening Statements and Prosecution Blunders" (with video)
On the second day of the court-martial of First Lt. Ehren Watada, it seemed at times that the prosecution witnesses were really defense witnesses.
Eric Seitz (Watada's attorney) released the following statement after the day 2 proceedings:

The prosecution presented three witnesses today; Lt. Colonel Bruce Antonia, Professor Richard Swain and Lt. Colonel William James.

Through our questions, the witnesses continued to describe a young officer who made every possible attempt to avoid conflict in a respectful, orderly manner in an effort to resolve a dispute between his own conscience and the orders that he was given to deploy to Iraq. The witnesses never delved into the reasons why Lt. Watada refused deployment to Iraq, but all of them conceded that Lt. Watada was a "quality officer" and a person of integrity.

Tomorrow, we expect to two witnesses to testify - Lt. Watada and Captain Scott Hulin, who returned from Iraq in order to testify as a character witness. These are the only two witnesses this court has allowed us to call. The judge has continued to deny us the opportunity to bring any expert witnesses in order to fully explain Lt. Watada's motivations and reasons for refusing deployment to Iraq.

Based upon the first two days of trial, we are continuing to be optimistic about the outcome, and our hope is that Lt. Watada will be treated with respect for the position he's taken and the views that he's articulated and that any disposition will take into account that he is taking a position of conscience. We expect the findings portion of the case to conclude tomorrow, and any punishment proceedings will probably conclude on Thursday.
Video by Geoff Millard here.

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