Law firm will consider legal action against Rep. John Murtha
August 27, 2007
A Christian law firm hopes that once its client is cleared of charges in connection with the so-called Haditha massacre, it will consider legal action against one of the men responsible for the accusations: Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha.
The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center http://www.thomasmore.org is representing Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani (USMC), who has been charged with not fully investigating the events at Haditha, Iraq, and failing to report a Law of War violation, in the aftermath of the November 19, 2005, incident that led to the death of 24 Iraqi civilians. Spokespersons for the legal group hope the convening officer in the investigation will throw out the charges as he already has for two of the six other men charged in the case. Chessani is the highest ranking officer charged in the case.
Congressman Murtha, a prominent war critic, last year accused U.S. Marines of shooting and killing unarmed civilians near the scene of an attack on a military convoy, then going into two homes and shooting others. According to Brian Rooney with the
Rooney argues the Pennsylvania Democrat should be held accountable for taking the word of Iraqi insurgents and calling the Marines "cold-blooded murderers."
"Staff Sergeant Wuterich's attorneys are suing Congressman Murtha for liable for saying that the Marines were cold-blooded murderers, so that suit's still ongoing," the attorney explains, adding that the
"We're exploring our options ... in that regard because Murtha said that officers covered this up, which is explicitly naming our client as covering it up," says Rooney. "So once we get through with this court-martial -- and hopefully it goes our way -- then we're going to look at whether or not we should take a hard look at Congressman Murtha as well."
In comments during a June 2006 interview with ABC's Charles Gibson, Murtha stated, after a meeting with high-level Marines: "I know there was a cover-up someplace. They knew about this a few days afterwards, and there's no question the chain of command tried to stifle the story."
Rooney says perhaps the people of Murtha's heavily Democratic district will vote him out of office next year. "Even if it's a Democratic district," he suggests, "you would hope that a Democrat of good conscience would stand up [against] what this congressman has put these men through."