Jonathan TurleyBy Facsimile Transmission and Overnight Mail
George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
March 29, 2001
The Honorable Richard C. Shelby
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
SH-211 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6475
Re: United States v. CTR1 Daniel M. King. USN
Dear Mr. Chairman:
This morning The Washington Post ran a story in which you stated your intention to call a hearing on the handling of the above referenced case. As lead defense counsel, I was previously told by your staff to expect to be called as a witness. I understand that my two detailed military co-counsel, LT Robert Bailey and LT Matthew Freedus, will also be called to testify.
Neither I, nor my co-counsel, have received a formal letter to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. We are eager to present evidence to the committee in the closed session. To that end, we wish to begin our work on a written submission. However, we have been denied access to our classified notes and files in the case. Thus, while the Navy representatives have access to their classified notes and files, the defense cannot use our own material to submit a substantive statement to the Committee. This is particularly distressing given public statements that the evidence in this case was "strong." The military judge overseeing the Article 32 proceeding stated in his written recommendation that the evidence in this case fell short of even probable cause, let alone evidence to convict. He recommended that the preferred charges be dismissed due to a lack of corroborating evidence and evidence of coercion by the Navy in procuring the signed statement by Petty Officer King. Recently, CDR Mark Newcomb, the military lawyer for the Convening Authority and the individual who oversaw the prosecution, wrote to me and confirmed that there was no corroborating evidence in the case that had been withheld from the defense or the military judge. He stated that any corroborating evidence in the case was already part of the evidence presented in the two Article 32 proceedings. Likewise, in the classified proceedings, CDR Jowers confirmed that she had no other evidence that would be considered corroborating evidence in the case.
Judge Winthrop reviewed the evidence in this case and heard all of the witnesses presented by the government. This includes highly exculpatory evidence that is classified. In the interests of fairness and full disclosure, I respectfully ask that the Committee seek the release of the defense notes and files to allow the defense to prepare a statement to the Committee and to be prepared to respond to questions on the evidence in the case. This can be easily done with an order to our security expert, Mr. Billy Cochran, to assist the defense in the transport and review of the material. I am confident that a request from the Committee would be honored by the Navy but time is now of the essence with the rapid approach of the hearing date.
I appreciate your consideration of this request and I would be willing to answer any questions that you or your staff may have on the case. Should you have any questions, I can be reached directly at the law school at 202-994-7001.
Lead Defense Counsel for Petty Officer Daniel King