NORFOLK, Va. — Proceedings began today at Norfolk Naval Base for Petty Officer Matthew McCabe, the last of the three Navy SEALs facing courts martial for allegedly assaulting terrorist Ahmed Hashim Abed, mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater security guards in Fallujah in 2004.
Petty Officers Julio Huertas and Jonathan Keefe were found not guilty last month in Baghdad. Huertas and Keefe were charged with failing to protect Abed from any wrong doing, McCabe is the only SEAL to face charges of an actual assault.
McCabe’s defense attorney Neal Puckett told HUMAN EVENTS that the defense is optimistic that McCabe will also be exonerated of all charges, saying that the government has twice tried to prove that an assault took place and have failed.
Though Puckett noted that with a new set of jurors anything is possible. “We are optimistic, but I’ve been in military court rooms for 26 years and I can tell you that sometimes the results surprise lawyers trying the case.”
McCabe’s trial will differ from Huertas and Keefe’s in that Abed will not be present. The Iraqi government would not release Abed out of the country. Sources tell HUMAN EVENTS that Abed is set to be executed by the Iraqi government for crimes committed against his own people.
A deposition of Abed’s testimony was taken and will be read in the court room. “There will be no live or video testimony of Abed, just words read off of a paper,” Puckett said.
A motion filed was filed Sunday night by the defense and lawyers requested that the court recess until 1 p.m. today. Because Puckett has previously asked Army Maj. Gen. Charles Cleveland, who brought the charges to drop the case, there has been speculation that the defense would file for a motion to dismiss.