By Jack Minor
A retired JAG officer with over 23 years of experience, says the military judge who ruled against discovery for a Greeley Army officer may have derailed the government’s case based on precedent from another high profile case involving a military officer.
Lt. Col John Eidsmoe, a retired Air Force officer who works for former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore at the Foundation for Moral Law, said Lakin is “raising legitimate constitutional questions” regarding President Obama’s eligibility to be commander-in-chief.
Eidsmoe said the issue has been around for several years and was first raised by Phillip Berg, a liberal Democrat who was a Hillary Clinton supporter.
“If he is a legitimate citizen of the United States, he could easily clear that up just by releasing the information to prove it,” Eidsmoe said “When the national interest is at stake, he has a duty to put personal feelings aside and show us he’s legitimate, if he is.”
Last week at a hearing on the motion for documents relating to the President’s eligibility under the Constitution, the judge ruled Lakin did not have any rights to discovery. Jenson said in the morning the judge listened very intently and she “found our arguments very appealing.” After lunch she issued a motion ruling against Lakin on all counts. In a meeting with the press afterwards, Jenson said he “was astonished that she would leave them with no defense whatsoever.” He went on to say that they were going to be given “no discovery at all” and they would be barred from “introducing any witnesses on the legality of the order.”
Jensen said that they will immediately appeal the ruling to the Army Court of Criminal appeals as this ruling completely prevents them from providing a defense.
In issuing the decision, Lind said Lakin would not be permitted to call witnesses because it has the “potential for embarrassment” of the President. Margaret Hemenway, spokeswoman for Col. Lakin, said the judge appeared to imply Lakin could be a racist by asking if this would be happening if Bush were the commander-in-chief.
In the decision the government stated that even if Obama is not eligible it would not matter and all actions taken by the president would still be valid. They also state that Lakin is “duty bound to follow the lawful orders of his superiors even if the eligibility of the President under the constitution is later found deficient.” The issue of the president’s birthplace is outweighed by “the danger of confusing the issues” according to prosecutors.
Eidsmoe said these statements could possibly cause problems for the government’s case based on precedent set in another recent high profile case involving Lt. Col. Michael Murphy.
Murphy was a high ranking official who served as general counsel to the White House Military office under President George W. Bush. In 2006 the Air Force discovered he had been disbarred for over 20 years in Texas and Louisiana, however, Murphy had told the Air Force he was never subject to any disciplinary issues. The military charged him with nine counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of failure to obey a general regulation. At the arraignment his lawyers requested records from his time with the WHMO arguing the records were needed in order to provide a defense. The WHMO refused to release the documents requested and the judge agreed, ruling that the information was not harming the lawyer’s ability to mount a defense to the charges which did not directly relate to his time at WHMO.
The Air Force Times reported that, “The information would not relate to the facts of the case but could have been useful in presenting what is known as the “good airman” defense, a doctrine in military law that allows the defense to present information about the defendant’s character and job performance.” The judge also ruled that a lack of access to the records would affect the defense’s ability to demonstrate Murphy’s good conduct and performance during the sentencing phase of the trial, calling the ability to present mitigating evidence about conduct “a substantial right of a military accused.” The judge also ruled that even if found Murphy he could not be punished and the Air Force of Criminal Courts agreed.
Eidsmoe said the circumstances in the Murphy case are very similar to Lakin’s case with the refusal to allow documents and witnesses related to the President’s eligibility.
Two days prior to the ruling, a former three-star Air Force general I who was a command pilot with 407 combat missions, filed an affidavit supporting of Lt. Col. Terry Lakin. Retired Lt. General Thomas McInerney said in an affidavit filed prior to Lakin’s September 2nd court hearing that officers are and must be “trained that they owe their highest allegiance to the United States Constitution.” He goes on to state as part of a training officers received is that they “must disobey an illegal order.”
On the eligibility issue, McInerney said “if he is ineligible under the Constitution to serve in that office. That creates a break in the chain of command of such magnitude that its significance can scarcely be imagined.” He went on to note part of his duties including commanding forces equipped with nuclear weapons and it was important “that the personnel with access to these weapons have unwavering in absolute confidence in the unified chain of command, because such confidence was absolutely essential in the event the use of those weapons were authorized.”
Gen. McInerney was the former assistant vice Chief of Staff, headquarters U.S. Air Force Washington, DC. Additionally he has logged over 4100 flying hours, including 407 combat missions as a command pilot.
Commenting on Lakin’s refusal to obey orders, the general praised him saying, “In refusing to obey orders because of his doubts as to the legality, LTC Lakin has acted exactly as proper training dictates.”
Praising Lakin for following his conscience, McInerney said it was vital for the judge to grant Lakin’s request for discovery pertaining to the President’s birth records as “absolutely essential to determining not merely his guilt or innocence, but to reassuring all military personnel once and for all for this president whether his service as commander-in-chief is constitutionally proper” noting that the President “is the single person in the chain of command that the Constitution demands proof of natural born citizenship.” He also said that “allowing access to these records is critical to our Republic.”
Supporters of the President have said there is no need for Obama to release any of the records requested because the online copy of the certification of live birth released during the campaign is sufficient proof. They also claim that the President is under no obligation to release them citing privacy laws. McInerney disputes that saying, “The invasion of his privacy in these records is utterly trivial compared to the issues at stake here.
McInerney is the third former general to come out in support of Lt. Col. Lakin, and the highest ranking member of the military thus far.
Other discrepancies in the President’s childhood history have also helped fuel the controversy. Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro, claimed in an interview with the Rainbow Newsletter in 2004 that he was born at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu on August 4, 1961. In an interview with the Honolulu Star Bulletin in February 2008, she stated that he was born at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.
Additionally, there are numerous foreign news sources disputing his Hawaiian birth. The Kenyan Observer in 2008 made reference to “the Kenyan born senator.” African Travel Magazine declared “as Kenyan born, US Senator Barrack Obama gets into Kenya today…”