It was two years ago Saturday that Army lieutenant Ehren Watada announced his refusal to go to war in Iraq. Since then, the Fort Lewis soldier has become a hero to the anti-war movement.
But his legal troubles remain unresolved – tied up in federal court. Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update.
Watada’s first military court martial ended in a mistrial. That was in February of last year.
When the Army attempted to try him again — Watada’s lawyers went to federal civilian court. They said their client had objected to the mistrial being declared and to try him again constituted double jeopardy — being tried for the same crime twice.
The judge issued an injunction. Today the legal wrangling continues. Watada’s attorney — Ken Kagan — expects the case will eventually make its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ken Kagan: “It’s conceivable that the appeals process in the 9th Circuit could consume anywhere from 18 months to three years. So that is a limbo that is very hard for Lt. Watada to imagine but he’s prepared to do what he needs to do.”
Watada is still in the Army — working a desk job at Fort Lewis. It’s possible while Watada awaits the outcome of his case, his former unit could be deployed again.