A federal judge has overturned a decision to discharge a Marine reservist accused of using an unclassified email account to send a warning about an alleged child molester.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco last week in New York comes nearly three years after a Marines Corps board of inquiry recommended that Maj. Jason Brezler be honorably discharged.
That decision allowed Brezler to keep his benefits, however he was denied the honor of wearing his uniform.
Brezler had warned fellow Marines in August 2012 about an Afghanistan police chief who had known links to the Taliban and was an alleged child molester, just days before one of the suspect’s alleged victims killed three Marines.
Brezler was accused of sending classified information over an unclassified network, after he allegedly used an improper email account to pass on the warning and later of keeping classified information on his computer.
Brezler’s attorney, Michael Bowe, said in a statement:
This is a stunning rebuke of the fundamentally unjust proceedings to which this decorated Marine was subjected for over three years.
In his decision, Judge Bianco wrote that he was not ruling on whether the board of inquiry was an act of retaliation, but that the Navy did not provide Brezler with all relevant documents, which, he wrote, “clearly prevented Major Brezler from fully and fairly litigating his retaliation claims”.
In his statement, Bowe said:
The Judge correctly found that highly relevant documents and information were withheld from the defense, that the excuses for doing so were ‘completely unsupported’, and that Major Brezler was ‘completely deprived… of any meaningful opportunity’ to rebut critical claims.
The case now goes back to the Secretary of the Navy for a re-trial.