Two U.S. Marines Held in Contempt in Fallujah Killings Civil Trial

A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California found two U.S. Marines in contempt of court Friday after the two declined to testify against their former squad leader in a trial over the killing of Iraqi detainees during the Multinational Force-Iraq's November 2004 offensive in Fallujah. Judge Stephen Larson held Sgt. Ryan G. Weemer and Sgt. Jermaine Nelson in contempt after the two invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked to testify against former Marine Sgt. Jose Nazario in his civil trial. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Behnke asked Larson to sentence the men to six months in jail in order to compel their testimony, but the judge refused even though he had previously sentenced the men to jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury about the same events. A hearing is set for September 29 on the contempt charges. The Associated Press has more. The Los Angeles Times has local coverage.

In July 2007, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) announced investigations of at least 10 Marines after Weemer admitted in a job interview with the U.S. Secret Service that he had seen indiscriminate killings in Fallujah. Both Weemer and Nelson face court-martial on charges of murder and dereliction of duty as active members of the military in connection with the same incident as Nazario. They were indicted in March and December respectively.

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