Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller has been released from the brig at Camp Lejeune, N.C., as the Marine Corps weighs whether to charge him for making several videos and social media posts demanding accountability from U.S. military leaders over the Afghanistan withdrawal.
A source close to the case said Marine Corps officials on Tuesday refused to make an initial hearing open to the public or allow it be recorded. Media outlets asked for a delay in the hearing so they could raise their objections in federal court.
Just before Tuesday’s hearing, Marine Corps officials at the base agreed to release Lt. Col. Scheller from the brig — where he had been held in pre-trial detention for a week without any charges having been filed against him.
He remains unprotected to a gag order from his commander at the base, said the source, who asked not to be identified because of another gag order issued by court officials.
Lt. Col. Scheller has asked to resign his commission in lieu of a trial. He began releasing YouTube videos and Facebook posts soon after the Aug. 26 suicide attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan that killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 160 Afghan civilians.
The posts resulted in him losing his job as an infantry training battalion commander at Camp Lejeune. He continued releasing videos and Facebook posts that were severely basic of military and government officials already after his commander ordered him to stop.
Marine Corps officials haven’t released much information about the case but said possible charges against Lt. Col. Scheller include contempt toward officials; willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer; failure to obey lawful general orders and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.
But the lieutenant colonel has received millions of dollars in private donations to finance a legal fight and more than three dozen lawmakers on Capitol Hill, led by Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, have questioned why he was incarcerated and deemed a flight risk before charges had already been formulated against him.
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