Jerome R. Corsi, a Harvard Ph.D., is a WND senior staff reporter. He has authored many books, including No. 1 N.Y. Times best-sellers "The Obama Nation" and "Unfit for Command." Corsi's latest book is "Who Really Killed Kennedy?"More ↓Less ↑
Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin
Disagreement arose today among supporters of Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, the Army doctor facing military court-martial for refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan after questioning Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility to be president.
A group of retired military officers organized as the Veterans Council and the United States Patriot Union in Sheridan, Wyo., issued a white paper calling on Lakin’s legal-defense team to change strategy.
The so-called “White Paper No. 3″ urged tea-party members and Congress members who signed the “Pledge to America” to support Lakin’s right to discovery at his court-martial. The officers want Lakin to obtain Obama’s long-form birth certificate and other relevant birth documents from Hawaii’s Department of Health, as well as college and law-school records, to determine whether the president applied as a foreign-exchange student.
On Sept. 2, Army Col. Denise R. Lind ruled in a preliminary hearing to Lakin’s scheduled October court-martial that Lakin could not pursue Obama’s presidential eligibility as part of his legal defense.
Lakin’s civilian defense attorney Paul Rolf Jensen had argued that under U.S.C. Rule 46, a defendant put on court-martial has the right to call all witnesses and obtain any evidence necessary to present a full defense.
Lind ruled it was the responsibility of Congress to impeach a sitting president, noting the discovery evidence Lakin sought to obtain could be an “embarrassment” to the White House.
In their White Paper No. 3, the veterans groups expressed concern that Lakin’s defense team’s refusal to change its strategy from an eligibility defense will almost certainly result in a conviction by the court-martial for refusing orders.
The paper took exception with the strategy, arguing “the Lakin team has vigorously refused to make any alterations to a defense strategy they know is wrong, and have been told by Col. Lind that they cannot even use, resting their faith in a (Court of Appeals for Armed Forces) appeals process also run by presidential appointees.”
The Veterans Council and the United States Patriot Union offered to reinforce Lakin’s defense with one legal expert in the Uniform Code of Military Justice and another expert criminal-defense lawyer.
But Margaret Hemenway, a spokeswoman for the American Patriot Foundation, the D.C. nonprofit group organized to pay for the Lakin defense, explained to WND why Lakin’s defense was rejecting the offer.
“LTC Lakin is a medical officer, not a (Judge Advocate General) or a constitutional scholar,” she said.
“He is a modest and humble man who simply seeks affirmation, per his positive duty, to affirm the legality of his lawyers,” she continued, stressing that Lakin is “staying the course.”
In their previous two white papers, the patriot union and Veterans Council had argued that Lakin was making a mistake in searching for Obama’s Hawaiian long-form birth certificate, which would only prove Obama’s birthplace and date of birth, his “native-born” status, not his “natural-born” status, as required by Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution.
“LTC Lakin has chosen to stay the course on the basis of advice from his existing legal team, and we must accept this decision,” the patriot union and Veterans Council noted in their White Paper No. 3. “LTC Lakin and his legal team are 100 percent committed to staying the course of Obama’s birth records or ‘native-born’ status and the (patriot union) and Veterans Council is committed to doing all that we can to promote a full defense for Lakin, complete with mitigating discovery and evidence.”
By urging the public to write members of Congress who signed the “Pledge to America” and Tea Party members to side with Lakin on the grounds of his right to present a full defense, the patriot union and the Veterans Council expressed hope that government officials and Tea Party members would “engage on behalf of LTC Lakin.”
“Nearly six months ago, LTC Lakin asked for assurance that his military orders were legal – he is not claiming to be sole arbiter of the president’s constitutional eligibility,” Hemenway said.
“The burden of proof rests with the Pentagon leadership and the administration to provide this affirmation of the lawfulness of military orders within the unified chain of command based on a commander-in-chief who is legally serving. LTC Lakin’s legal approach, consistent with his training as an officer, remains constant in pursuit of the answer to his question – are his orders legal, or are they not?”