Photo of Barack Obama
As a lawyer, President Obama should know better than to make comments that could sway the outcome of a trial and consequent punishment. He explicitly stated the punishments he wanted to see for defendants in upcoming military sexual assault trials.
A Navy judge, Cmdr. Marcus Fulton, in Hawaii ruled that Obama exerted “unlawful command influence” as commander-in-chief when he outlined specific “consequences” he saw fit for members of the military convicted of sexual assault.
President Obama’s specific comments:
“I expect consequences,” Obama said at a press conference in early May that came just as the Pentagon released a report detailing rising incidences of sexual assaults in 2012. “So I don’t just want more speeches or awareness programs or training, but ultimately folks look the other way. If we find out somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable — prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”
As a result, the defendants in US v. Johnson and US v. Fuentes cannot be punitively discharged even if they are convicted according to Stars and Stripes Magazine.
In the military, there is extraordinary pressure to follow the directives of commanders, especially the commander-in-chief and his comments did pose undue influence.
For someone who was so cautious about not speaking about the Kermit Gosnell’s case, the IRS case, the AP case, the Rosen case and a number of other cases, it is odd that he chose to speak out about this one, one that happens to plays well for women, a support base.