Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Monday delayed a pre-trial hearing for a Stryker soldier accused of assaulting a whistleblower who spoke with investigators about drug use at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. David Bram, 27, of Vacaville, Calif., is one of 12 soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who stand accused of various crimes allegedly committed during a 2009-10 deployment to southern Afghanistan.
Five of the 12 are accused of murdering civilians. Bram is one of the two highest-ranking soldiers in the group of seven whose charges mainly center on assaulting another soldier.
Early Monday, the base announced that he would have an Article 32 hearing where prosecutors would lay out evidence against him and an investigating officer would consider whether he should stand trial. That hearing was set to take place today.
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But hours later, the base announced that Bram’s hearing would be delayed until later this month.
Bram allegedly was one of six soldiers who beat up Pfc. Justin Stoner on May 5 at Forward Operating Base Ramrod, a base where soldiers reportedly had easy access to hashish and opium from Afghan guards and soldiers.
Stoner reportedly had spoken to investigators about drug use in his unit, and his interviews led the Army to broaden its probe into suspected wrongdoing at Ramrod.
Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs allegedly led the May 5 assault on the whistleblower to keep Stoner from “running his mouth,” according to testimony at another soldier’s pre-trial hearing last week.
Gibbs is the alleged plotter of three civilian killings and the central figure in the Army’s investigation into his platoon.
Bram is charged with being part of a conspiracy to commit assault and battery, unlawfully striking another soldier, violating a general order by keeping photographs of Afghan casualties, failing to dispose of an AK-47 firearm that was taken from an Afghan soldier, strangling Stoner in such a way as to constitute cruelty and maltreatment, and trying to impede an investigation.