Justice Department won't pursue case of soldier who refused to deploy - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Justice Department won't pursue case of soldier who refused to deploy

SEATTLE , Wash. - The Justice Department is dropping its appeal to a judge's decision that blocked the Army from re-trying a Fort Lewis lieutenant who refused to deploy to Iraq in 2006.

Army spokesman Joe Piek says Fort Lewis learned late last week of the DOJ's decision in the case of Ehren Watada, who claimed the war was illegal and publicly denounced President George W. Bush.

Watada's first court-martial ended in a mistrial, and a federal judge ruled last fall that the Army could not try him again on key charges, including missing troop movement, because it would violate his constitutional right to be free from double-jeopardy.

Piek says Fort Lewis leadership is still weighing how to handle remaining charges of conduct unbecoming an officer. Options include court-martial, nonjudicial punishment such as docking his pay or giving him extra work, or kicking him out of the Army with either an honorable or dishonorable discharge.

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