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Lt. Watada In Limbo On 2nd Anniversary Of Refusal To Go To Iraq

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.