Judge rejects Lynddie England’s guilty plea

A military judge on Wednesday threw out Pfc. Lynndie England’s guilty plea to prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, saying he was not convinced that she knew her actions were wrong at the time. 

 The action came after Graner, the reputed ringleader of the abuse, testified as a defense witness at England’s sentencing hearing that pictures he took of England holding a naked prisoner on a leash at Abu Ghraib were meant to be used as a legitimate training aid for other guards.

Hmm, this moves the blame up the food chain a bit. And what charming training aids the Army apparently routinely uses.

When England pleaded guilty Monday, she told the judge she knew that the pictures were being taken purely for the amusement of the guards.

Pohl said the two statements could not be reconciled.

“You can’t have a one-person conspiracy,” the judge said before he declared the mistrial and dismissed the sentencing jury.

Here’s the crucial part

Under military law, the judge could formally accept her guilty plea only if he was convinced that she knew at the time that what she was doing was illegal.

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