Defense Attorneys Say Marine Corps Helped Haditha Prosecution

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Marine holds traffic in Haditha, Iraq

I've been covering the infamous Haditha, Iraq civilian murder case for some five years now, and it seems this story will never end because of endless wrangling among prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who remains at Camp Pendleton, is the last defendant in this case. The former squad leader is accused of leading his Marines on a rampage that killed 24 civilians in Haditha in November 2005 after a roadside bomb killed a Marine.

As I initially reported nearly five years ago in with a team of reporters, eight Marines were initially charged with murder or failing to investigate the killings. Six have since had charges dismissed, and one was acquitted. Wuterich faces reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter and has pleaded not guilty. He said he regrets the loss of human life but insists he was following combat rules when he ordered the attack.

Wuterich's civilian lawyer, Neal Puckett, told reporters yesterday that he is confident Wuterich would be exonerated if the case goes to trial, but the details that would come out would be devastating to the Marine Corps, its image and the prosecution.

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