- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

FORT HOOD, Texas — Army Pfc. Lynndie England posed in now notorious abuse photographs inside Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison because she loved and trusted the scandal ringleader, her attorney said at the start of her court-martial yesterday.

Pfc. England, 22, who was pictured holding an Iraqi prisoner by a leash, was lured into posing for the photographs by Charles Graner, the father of her baby, said military lawyer Capt. Jonathan Crisp.

“What mattered to her was her relationship to Cpl. Graner,” Capt. Crisp said.

“She thinks: ‘I love him, he loves me, he’s not going to do something to hurt me,’” he said in opening arguments.

Pfc. England faces a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison if convicted on all seven counts on charges of conspiracy, maltreatment of subordinates and indecent acts. A military jury sentenced Graner to 10 years in prison earlier this year. Since his incarceration, Graner has married another woman who pleaded guilty in the scandal.

Pfc. England, a clerk with no official duties in the section of the prison where the abuses occurred, also posed with Graner in front of a pyramid of naked Iraqi prisoners.

In his opening arguments, prosecutor Chuck Neill said Pfc. England was an active participant who enjoyed the scenes portrayed on camera.

“This was simply for the amusement of Pfc. England and the other soldiers,” Mr. Neill told a five-officer military jury, pointing out her smile in photos.

Pfc. England’s attorneys are seeking to portray her as overly compliant toward authority and as someone who has suffered from depression and from learning disabilities.

“She has had and has a great deal of difficulty functioning in life in general,” Capt. Crisp said.

Pfc. England is the last to be tried among a group of soldiers in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal. Six have pleaded guilty and two others, including Graner, have been convicted at trial.

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