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Today's trial: What's Lakin defense strategy?

Posted By Brian Fitzpatrick On 12/13/2010 @ 8:59 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled


Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin

WASHINGTON – Defense attorney Neal Puckett acknowledges chances of acquittal for Army Lt. Col. Terry Lakin are remote, so he’s shifting to a new battleground: limiting the punishment.

Lakin, whose court martial begins today at Ft. Meade, Md., disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan to
force President Obama to produce his birth certificate and other documents that
might establish whether he is a “natural born citizen,” the
constitutional requirement for any president.

Puckett will be trying to persuade the jury to view Lakin as a man of principle, not as a disobedient soldier.

In an interview selected as Video of the Day by the Western Center for Journalism, Puckett said his goal during the court martial will be to “minimize the punishment” the Army will mete out to Lakin for disobeying orders.

“What we’re aiming for, for Lt. Col. Lakin, is … to convince the jury on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week to let him go home and spend the holidays with his family and not send him to jail. And I think that’s a possible outcome,” said Puckett.

Puckett called on Lakin’s supporters to start thinking about what will happen to the decorated flight surgeon after the court martial.

“If he loses his career in the Army, and if by losing his career in the Army his career as a doctor is put into jeopardy, he still has to support his family financially,” Puckett said.

“If he is viewed as a hero by some for taking a stand, and he has to suffer because of that, people need to think, ‘Because he did that for me, what can I do for him?’”

After requesting assignment to a combat unit so he could serve in Afghanistan, Lakin was required in his orders to produce his birth certificate. According to Puckett, Lakin’s conscience was troubled when he realized Obama, the man responsible for sending American servicemen to Afghanistan, has never produced his own birth certificate.

Lakin deliberately disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because of doubts that Obama is eligible to occupy the Oval Office.

“He’s stuck in a situation where he has disobeyed military orders, those orders issued from military authority, and the army is not allowing him to look beyond that,” said Puckett. “That’s why he’s going to court martial. He is going to be found guilty of some, but not all of these offenses I believe, then he will be subjected to some kind of punishment. Our job will be to minimize that punishment and allow him to move forward in a way that is not damaging to his family.”

Puckett characterized Lakin’s disobedience as “courageous” and an act of “civil disobedience.”

“He acknowledges responsibility for his decisions he made and he’s made them courageously. He’s sort of engaging in classic civil disobedience. He’s saying ‘I am acting in accordance with my conscience. My conscience will not let me do this unless I find out certain information.’ He knew from the very beginning this could cause him personal harm, That’s true courage. It’s moral courage, it’s physical courage. You have to admire him for that.

“The goal we would all like to have is to be acquitted of charges, but sometimes the evidence or the facts or the circs don’t allow for that,” said Puckett. “The next level of defense for someone who cannot be acquitted under the evidence is to achieve the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

“The prosecution is really out to get him,” Puckett added. “They really trumped up the charges higher than they needed to be.”



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