Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller pleaded guilty this morning to all six charges and specifications levied against him by the military following his public comments that bashed the final American withdrawal in August of combat forces from Afghanistan.
He waived the right to a trial before a jury as part of his plea bargain.
Prior to the court-martial, Scheller attorney Tim Parlatore told the news media Scheller accepted responsibility for his actions and the main issue remaining was a decision on what would be an appropriate punishment.
Parlatore said he expects Stuart’s punishment will include a letter of reprimand and will not include confinement. The proceedings are expected to end today, he said.
Parlatore works as a civil attorney whose New York office is located.
The court-martial hearing was scheduled to commence at 9 a.m. at Camp Lejeune for
Scheller is a former Marine Corps battalion commander, who was dismissed after publicly criticizing U.S. withdrawals from Afghanistan.
According to an Oct. 13 report from CNN, Scheller sought a plea deal for an honorable discharge or a general discharge with honorable conditions. To support Scheller’s family, the Pipe Hitter Foundation raised over $2 million.
Scheller is in court because he posted a video while in uniform on Aug. 26 demanding accountability from military leaders over the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and a Fort Bragg Army soldier were killed in Kabul. The following day, Scheller was relieved of his command of the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Lejeune’s Camp Geiger.
This video is more than one,000,000 views on Facebook. It shows Scheller willing to put his battalion commander position, retirement, and family stability at risk to voice his opinion.
“People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying we messed this up,” Scheller said in the video.
Scheller, who has served 17 years, continued to speak out on social media.
“All I asked for was accountability of my senior leaders when there are clear, obvious mistakes that were made,” Scheller said in an Aug. 29 video in which he announced his decision to resign his commission.He further said, “follow me and we will bring the whole [explicit] system down.”
Multiple reports claim that Scheller was taken into pretrial detention at Camp Lejeune on Sept. 27 for violating the gag order.
The six military laws violations were brought against Scheller by the Army on Oct. 5.
- Disregard for officials.
- Refusal to respect superior commissioned officers.
- Willfully ignore a superior officer commissioned.
- Refusal to perform duties.
- Infringement of order or regulation
- Unprofessional conduct that is not appropriate for an officer or gentleman.
Background Marine publicly critical of Afghanistan withdrawal expected to accept responsibility
Reporter Calvin Shomaker can be reached at [email protected]