- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Marine who sued Rep. John Murtha for defamation wants a federal appeals court to order the Pennsylvania Democrat to testify under oath in the case.

An attorney for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday that he needs Murtha’s deposition to determine how often the congressman made the claim that Marines in Iraq engaged in “cold-blooded murder and war crimes” in the slayings of civilians in Haditha.

A government lawyer representing Murtha told the judges that the lawmaker has immunity from the lawsuit because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the comments to reporters.

Wuterich filed the lawsuit in 2006. He is the only person still facing charges in the 2005 Haditha slayings. A second Marine also has sued over Murtha’s remarks.

Murtha has said he made the comments to draw attention to the pressure put on troops in Iraq and efforts to cover-up the incident. Murtha is a decorated Vietnam veteran who was elected in November to this 18th full term.

Last year, a federal judge ordered Murtha to give a sworn deposition in the case.

Mark Zaid, attorney for the Marine, said he wants Murtha to answer questions under oath for about three or four hours.

“We don’t know what we don’t know,” Zaid said.

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