Tearful Lt.-Gen Whelan Faces Potential Case Withdrawal in Court Martial


This morning saw a significant development in the court martial of Lt.-Gen. Steven Whelan, who exhibited raw emotion as he tearfully listened to military prosecutors suggesting the presiding judge withdraw the pending case against him.

Accused of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, Whelan had held steadfast in his not guilty plea. This alleged misconduct centered on an alteration in a 2011 performance report, a charge steeped in controversy and intricate interpersonal relationships. It was contended by the military that Whelan, in a calculated move to shield his past indiscretions, improved the rating of a servicewoman under his command, ensuring her silence over flirtatious emails he had allegedly sent prior to their joint service.

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At the onset of the court martial last week, a separate charge, alleging an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, was dismissed by the prosecution. As the light of this morning’s proceedings cast a new perspective on events, prosecutors further requested that the military judge, Cmdr. Martin Pelletier, abandon the lingering charge, a decision pursuant to a reassessment of available evidence.

In an earlier ruling on Friday, Pelletier determined that the contentious emails pivotal to the case were inadmissible as prosecutorial evidence. This morning, the prosecution declined any requests for interviews, leaving a tense atmosphere hanging heavy in the courtroom, and substantial ambiguity regarding the official conclusion of the case.