Military Case Heats up for Marine

Prosecutor is Looking to "60 Minutes" Footage as Evidence

Friday, Mar 13, 2009  |  Updated 4:21 AM PDT
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Military Case Heats up for Marine

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Marine Capt. Nicholas Gannon, who is pursuing charges against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 28, of Meriden, argued during a Camp Pendleton court hearing Wednesday that newsgathering protections do not apply to journalists within the military justice system.

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Footage of a CBS "60 Minutes" interview with a Connecticut Marine squad leader accused of killing 24 Iraqis should be disclosed, a military prosecutor said.

Marine Capt. Nicholas Gannon, who is pursuing charges against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 28, of Meriden, argued during a Camp Pendleton court hearing Wednesday that newsgathering protections do not apply to journalists within the military justice system.

"The question is unresolved on reporter privilege and it's not for this court to decide," Gannon told Lt. Col. Jeffrey Meeks, who is presiding over the case, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Wuterich faces voluntary manslaughter and other charges in the Haditha deaths, which happened after a roadside bomb hit a Marine convoy, killing a Humvee driver and wounding two other Marines.

Military prosecutors said they believe the interview given by Wuterich contains admission of crimes in the attack in Haditha, Iraq, on Nov. 19, 2005.

CBS attorney Carl Benedetti, told the San Jose Mercury News that the portions of the interview that were not broadcast contain no material relevant to the prosecution. He also argued that a wide range of federal court case law protects journalists from being compelled to disclose all of their work product.

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