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Marine to sue Murtha for Defamation

theHawk

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Yey!


By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Page A05

A Marine Corps staff sergeant who led the squad accused of killing two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq, will file a lawsuit today in federal court in Washington claiming that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) defamed him when the congressman made public comments about the incident earlier this year.

Attorneys for Frank D. Wuterich, 26, argue in court papers that Murtha tarnished the Marine's reputation by telling news organizations in May that the Marine unit cracked after a roadside bomb killed one of its members and that the troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood." Murtha also said repeatedly that the incident was covered up.

Murtha argued that the questionable deaths of 24 civilians were indicative of the difficulties and overpowering stress that U.S. troops are facing. The congressman, a former Marine, has been a leading advocate for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.

In the court filing, obtained by The Washington Post, the lawyers say that Murtha made the comments after being briefed by Defense Department officials who "deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information." Neal A. Puckett and Mark S. Zaid, suing for libel and invasion of privacy, also wrote that Murtha made the comments outside of his official scope as a congressman.

Telephone calls yesterday to Murtha's office in Washington were referred to his district office in Pennsylvania, and calls there were not returned. A Marine Corps spokesman declined to comment yesterday on the Haditha investigation or the lawsuit.

The suit could have interesting legal ramifications because Wuterich and the other members of his squad have not been charged and have not received any official investigative documentation about the Nov. 19 incident. A Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation is expected to determine possible charges this summer, said officials familiar with the case.

Zaid said the filing is designed partly to force Murtha to disclose what information he received from the Defense Department and the Marine Corps commandant to form his opinion, essentially trying to speed up the discovery process in a potential criminal trial.

"This case is not about money; it's about clearing Frank Wuterich's name, and part of that is to identify where these leaks are coming from," Zaid said in an interview. "Congressman Murtha has created this atmosphere that has already concluded guilt. He's created this environment that really smells, and he's the only one who has done that."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/01/AR2006080101345.html
 

CSM

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I hope the Marine wins and gets big bucks off that loud mouthed has been!
 

red states rule

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The liberal media will slime this man and defend Motor Mouth Murtha
 

Avatar4321

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I wish more people would sue politicians who shoot the mouth and defame them. (And not because Id make more money) Because politicians of all people should be focused on speaking the truth and being respectful.

Some say it will chill speech. Defamation is speech that should be chilled.
 

Annie

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dmp said:
I was so glad to hear of this. Murtha has been backtracking all day, but not apologising.
 

Bonnie

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I was so happy to read this. Maybe if this gets enough publicity, politicians will think twice before talking out their behinds and placing our troops in more peril.
 

Annie

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Bonnie said:
I was so happy to read this. Maybe if this gets enough publicity, politicians will think twice before talking out their behinds and placing our troops in more peril.
Yep,

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cach...ion&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=3&client=firefox-a

One winner of the Golden Fleece Award, Ronald Hutchinson, was so outraged that he sued Proxmire for defamation in 1976. Proxmire claimed that his statements about Hutchinson's research were protected by the Speech and Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Clause does not immunize members of Congress from liability for defamatory statements made outside of formal congressional proceedings. Hutchinson v. Proxmire, 443 U.S. 111 (1979).
 

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