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Marine Who Criticized Military Leadership Gets $5K Fine As Judge Blasts Prosecutors

Jacksonville, NC – The U.S. Marine lieutenant colonel who was tossed in the brig ahead of his court martial for criticizing military leadership’s handling of the Afghanistan has been issued a letter of reprimand and ordered to forfeit $5,000 in pay.

U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller pleaded guilty on Thursday to six misdemeanor-level charges including willfully disobeying a senior officer, the New York Post reported.

On Friday, U.S. Marine Colonel Glen Hines, the judge overseeing the court martial, rejected the prosecution’s recommended sentence and blasted the overall handling of Scheller’s case, the Marina Corps Times reported.

Hines said the videos that Scheller posted to social media showed a man who appeared “to be in pain,” “confused,” and “significantly frustrated,” as opposed to the characterization of the lieutenant coronel in charging documents.

Attorneys for Scheller had argued that prosecutors had depicted him as a rogue and potentially-violent Marine, according to the Marine Corps Times.

The judge said that the media leaks and Scheller’s pre-trial confinement order raised the “specter of unlawful command influence.”

Prosecutors had asked the judge to order Scheller to forfeit $5,000 in pay a month for the next six months, the Marine Corps Times reported.

However, Hines only ordered the lieutenant colonel to give up $5,000 total.

It was the only aspect of the pre-trial agreement that the judge had any power over, the Marine Corps Times reported.

Hines pointed to mitigating circumstances that had impacted his decision.

The judge said he would have taken two months of pay but he awarded Scheller credit for the nine days he spent incarcerated in the brig, the Marine Corps Times reported.

Prosecutors said that as part of the agreement, Scheller will resign his commission and receive an honorable discharge or general under honorable conditions as part of the agreement.

The character of the discharge will be decided by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos del Toro, according to the Marine Corps Times.

Scheller was put in the brig after he posted a series of videos that called out senior military leaders for the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan that left 13 U.S. service members dead murdered by suicide bombers at the Kabul airport.

In the first video posted on the day of the attack, Scheller said he was willing to risk his retirement to demand honesty, integrity, and accountability from his commanders.

Scheller questioned in the video whether anybody above him had questioned the wisdom of the Biden administration’s plan for the withdrawal of troops before they executed it.

“I’m not saying we’ve gotta be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying did any of you throw your rank on the table and say ‘hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram airfield the strategic airbase before we evacuate everyone?’” the career-marine officer asked in the video.

“Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say ‘we completely messed this up?’” he asked.

Scheller said U.S. military leadership has continue to repeat the same mistakes and were “not holding up their end of the bargain.”

He continued posting critical videos to social media and even pledged to file charges against the head of the U.S. Central Command for his mistakes made during the troop withdrawal.

Scheller was three days from retirement when he was relieved of his command and placed in confinement, FOX News reported.

“My son is an exemplary Marine and he has been for 17 years,” his mother, Cathy Scheller, said in an interview. “He knew that everyone else felt the same way. He thought if he took the lead, others would stand up and call for accountability. They did not. So he is taking the full brunt himself.”

Scheller was granted a conditional release nine days after he was put in the brig, pending completion of his trial.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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