An initial court-martial hearing has been scheduled this week for a Marine sniper in connection with charges arising from last year’s notorious video showing his unit urinating on the corpses of dead Afghans.
Sgt. Robert Richards, with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, will appear in court Tuesday at Camp Lejeune, N.C., for a so-called Article 32 hearing — the equivalent in a court-martial of grand jury proceedings that decide whether the case will go ahead or not, Marine Times reported. He is the seventh Marine to face charges as a result of the video, which surfaced online in January last year, and the third to face a court-martial.
The 39-second video was filmed during a counterinsurgency operation near Sandala in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on July 27, 2011, according to Marine Times.
Two other Marine noncommissioned officers already have pleaded guilty to court-martial charges arising from the video, and 11 others were found by investigators who traced the video back to the unit. The video depicts inappropriate behavior such as Marines posing with corpses on their vehicles, Marine Times reported, citing court testimony in prior cases.
Three other Marines received nonjudicial punishment, and Capt. James Clement still faces a court-martial, with no date yet set for his Article 32 hearing.
Sgt. Richards‘ wife, Raechel, has launched an online defense campaign, saying he is an exemplary Marine who has been the victim of a politically correct campaign in the wake of outrage provoked by the video. She and Sgt. Richards‘ lawyer, Guy Womack, allege he was about to receive a Silver Star when the embarrassing video hit YouTube, Marines Times reported.