A day after Navy Vice Adm. James Crawford III was grilled about his alleged role in scuttling the defense of a Navy SEAL accused of rape, attorneys under his command maneuvered to fire the bulk of the legal team asking the questions.
In a series of motions and responses filed between Aug. 1 and Friday with a special armed forces court in Washington, D.C., the Navy’s attorneys seek to remove three military lawyers assigned to assist the appeal of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Keith Barry.
Barry was convicted in 2015 of raping a woman in San Diego. The military judge was faced with deciding whether he secured consent from the female victim during a month-long relationship between 2012 and 2013.
He maintained his innocence even after he was sentenced to prison and given a dishonorable discharge, claiming that she was using the criminal justice system to punish him for ending their relationship.
Seeking clemency, he appealed the military judge’s decision to Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge, the commander of Navy Region Southwest who is now retired. In a sworn affidavit, Lorge admitted that he did not believe Barry was guilty but instead of vacating the verdict took advice from Crawford to let it stand.
Crawford urged him to appease Capitol Hill and White House critics unhappy with the military’s handling of sexual assault cases and warned that going soft on Barry could end Lorge’s Navy career, the retired flag officer wrote in his statement.
Lorge’s words were echoed by a pair of sworn affidavits from junior legal aides who recalled him discussing Crawford’s advice.
“The Barry case has been forwarded to a new convening…
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