Marine who criticized Afghanistan withdrawal pleads guilty | KSTP.com

Marine who criticized Afghanistan withdrawal pleads guilty

In this image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, a Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, escorts a young girl at an evacuation control checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Photo: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla. In this image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, a Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, escorts a young girl at an evacuation control checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.

Associated Press
Created: October 14, 2021 08:55 PM

A former Marine battalion commander pleaded guilty Thursday to charges including conduct unbecoming an officer after he complained about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in online videos that made him well-known in conservative political circles.

During the court-martial at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller entered the plea to charges that also include failure to obey order or regulation, his attorney Tim Parlatore said in a text message. A sentencing hearing followed the morning proceedings and adjourned late Thursday afternoon. It will resume Friday morning, when a decision is expected.

Speaking on his own behalf, Scheller told a judge he made his comments “because I thought it was in the best long-term interest of the Marine Corps,” The Daily News of Jacksonville reported.

Scheller said he went public instead of through “the proper channels” because, otherwise, his complaints would not have been heard by the commandant of the Marine Corps, the U.S. secretary of defense or American public.

“At no time did I advocate for the violent overthrow of the government,” he said. “At no time did I ever say I was going to use violence.”

In an Aug. 26 video posted on Facebook, Scheller said he was willing to risk his career to call out military leaders regarding the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 13 U.S. troops were killed in Kabul.

“I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: I demand accountability," he said in the video while wearing a camouflage uniform.

Scheller followed that comment with a series of social media posts, including an Aug. 29 video in which he resigned his commission and said “follow me and we will bring down the whole … system.” On Thursday, he said that remark was meant “in a constitutional manner.”

Scheller continued to speak out, and on Sept. 27, he was placed in pretrial confinement at Camp Lejeune.

After his videos attracted numerous views, he became the subject of a fundraising campaign and received the support of a nonprofit legal defense fund for former service members.

In a sign of support, two Republican members of Congress testified Thursday on his behalf — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia by teleconference and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas in person, The Daily News of Jacksonville reported.

“Nobody has owned up. Nobody has taken accountability” for the situation in Afghanistan, Gohmert said, adding that the judge should take into account that Scheller “is an honest guy” when sentencing him.


(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Small businesses trying to rebound in midst of supply chain slowdown

U of M team leading 'largest study of early childhood brain development'

Community rallies behind family who lost everything in Thanksgiving 5-alarm fire

Hudson school honors the only person from city to be killed in Vietnam War

5-year-old shot, killed by teen making social media video in Brooklyn Park

Biden to visit Rosemount on Tuesday