Saturday, January 8, 2005
On January 7, Military Judge Col. James Pohl and lawyers selected 10 soldiers to serve as the jury in the case against Specialist Charles A. Graner for his role in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. The trial was moved to Fort Hood, TX from Baghdad because military officials believed they would not be able to find enough soldiers to serve as a jury in Iraq. Selecting the 10 soldier jury took only an hour in Fort Hood. Lawyers reported that all 10 soldier-jurors (4 officers and 6 enlisted soldiers) are male, combat veterans. The initial jury pool consisted of 12 soldiers, and only two were dismissed for potential bias. Col. Allen Batschelet, one of the two dismissed jurors, expressed his sentiments about the scandal, "Frankly, I've got to tell you, it had a strong impact on me...As an Army officer, I was embarrassed by what I saw in the media...The values I hold dear as a soldier were called into question by the whole affair."
Three of the detainees who were abused will testify via video deposition in the trial. Seven of the 10 jurors are needed for a conviction and 8 of the 10 jurors must agree for Graner to be given a sentence of 10 or more years. This will be the first trial against a military officer involved in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, and lawyers' opening statements will begin on January 10. More from the NYTimes article... [Mark Godsey]