Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Graner testimony endangers England's Abu Ghraib plea

The judge, Col. James Pohl, abruptly stopped Pfc. Lynndie England's sentencing hearing today after Pvt. Charles Graner Jr maintained that he and the other Abu Ghraib guards were following orders from higher-ranking interrogators when they abused the detainees.

Under military law, a judge can formally accept England's guilty plea only if she knew at the time that what she was doing was illegal. The judge planned to question England again Wednesday afternoon to try to clarify her state when the abusive acts occurred.

"If you don't want to plead guilty, don't," Pohl admonished the defendant while Graner sat on the witness stand. "But you can't plead guilty and say you're not guilty. ... You can't have it both ways."


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