SEATTLE — Lawyers for the American soldier convicted of killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids last year will push to have the entire prosecution team removed from the case before his sentencing next week.
John Henry Browne, a civilian attorney for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, says the prosecutors were inappropriately given a copy of compelled statements Bales made to Army psychiatrists. A hearing on the matter is set for Tuesday.
Bales pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty. He faces life in prison either with or without the possibility of parole.
Browne says the judge inadvertently gave the prosecution team an unredacted copy of the psychiatric evaluation. He says the only solution is for the judge to remove the prosecutors from the case.
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The Army has not commented on the matter.
Bales made the statements as part of a "sanity review" by military doctors, aimed at determining whether he was sane at the time of the attacks and whether he was capable of standing trial. Browne has said the Army is entitled to the short conclusions of the doctors, but not the full report. He said the statements were protected by his client's Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.
Bales, an Ohio native and married father of two young children, admitted leaving his post in Kandahar Province before dawn on March 11, 2012, to attack two villages of mud-walled compounds nearby.