CASE UPDATE: On September 12, 2022, Marine Corps judge Lieutenant Colonel E.A. Catto disregarded evidence of Unlawful Command Influence and denied GySgt Draher and Negron’s defense motion to dismiss their charges. This decision occured despite the government’s own admission that Colonel Shaw’s comments were highly disturbing. Similar to Chief Eric Gilmet‘s case, justice continues to elude these three innocent Marine Raiders who have now been waiting to go to trial for well over three years.
On Thursday, February 17, 2022, Marine Raiders Gunnery Sergeant Danny Draher and Gunnery Sergeant Josh Negron were forced to release their military lawyers after a Marine Corps judge found evidence of Unlawful Command Influence (UCI) in their case, just as Chief Eric Gilmet was forced to do in a separate motion hearing only weeks prior.
In a November 2021 incident, a senior military officer representing the Marine Corps’ Judge Advocate Division aimed threatening statements at Chief Gilmet’s defense counsel, resulting in a conflict of interest created by the government.
The so-called MARSOC 3 cases involving GySgt Draher, GySgt Negron, and Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet involve allegations that are now three years old, each stemming from an incident that took place in Erbil, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) on New Year’s Eve, 2018 in which the Marine Raiders were assaulted by an American civilian contractor.
United American Patriots (UAP) has supported the MARSOC 3 during their lengthy legal battle by funding their civilian legal representation and generating awareness to members of Congress and to the public about the facts of the case.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the MARSOC 3 acting in self-defense and the defense of others, the MARSOC 3 were charged with involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, obstructing justice, and violations of orders.
Like Chief Gilmet, GySgt Draher and GySgt Negron were forced to decide between moving forward with a compromised defense counsel, or to part ways with the defense team that they had built cohesion with for several years in order to avoid the effects of UCI.
Gunnery Sergeant Negron also had to release his primary attorney, Brian McGee, who despite being a civilian attorney is still in the Marine Corps reserves, and therefore is still affected by the UCI. Gunnery Sergeant Draher is now solely represented by retired Marine, Phil Stackhouse, a civilian attorney funded by UAP.
According to attorney Phil Stackhouse, “Gunnery Sergeant Draher must find “new” conflict free military counsel and will probably have to go outside the Navy-Marine Corps legal community to do so.”
“This Unlawful Command Influence has now interfered with Gunnery Sergeant Draher’s right to counsel and forced him to incur additional costs”, Stackhouse added. Gunnery Sergeant Draher, Gunnery Sergeant Negron, and Chief Gilmet are reliant on funds raised by UAP to continue their legal battle.
While Chief Gilmet’s judge found the evidence of UCI to be so overwhelming that he dismissed all charges in that case with prejudice on February 9th, the government has decided to appeal that decision, meaning his legal saga will continue.
Once again, justice has also been delayed for Gunnery Sergeant Draher and Gunnery Sergeant Negron as they are now forced to attempt to find legal representation that has not been tainted by UCI — a difficult task.
According to Stackhouse, “Now is the time the command could and should step in to dismiss the charges – like the court had to do in Chief Eric Gilmet’s case earlier this month.
This article was originally published on February 18, 2022.
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