Judge bans general from Guantanamo trial role

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — For a second time, a military judge Thursday barred a U.S. general at the Pentagon from acting as a legal advisor in the trial of an accused terrorist at the Guantanamo war court.

Moreover, Judge Stephen Henley ordered a new top-level review of the charges against Mohammed Jawad, about 23, who is accused of attempted murder for allegedly throwing a grenade as a teen that wounded two U.S. soldiers and their translator in a bazaar in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann's aggressive advocacy of the trials by military commission — in the media and other public statements — ''compromised the objectivity necessary to dispassionately and fairly evaluate the evidence and prepare the post-trial evaluation,'' Henley ruled.

Defense attorneys had argued that Hartmann had become so preoccupied with the prosecution's side of the war crimes court — and the Jawad case in particular — that he pressured prosecutors to charge him.

Henely ruled that while case prosecutors swore out the charges properly, Hartmann could not serve as a ''neutral'' advisor on the case, once brought to trial.

''The judge found that in the interests of justice Gen. Hartmann is disqualified from further action in this case,'' said Air Force Maj. Gail Crawford, a military attorney serving as spokeswoman for the trials.

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