A group of more than two dozen Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the head of the Marine Corps requesting that the Marine who spoke out against military leaders be removed from the brig while he’s awaiting a hearing.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. is in pretrial confinement in the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East abroad Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Capt. Sam Stephenson told the Washington Examiner Thursday. The time, date, and location of the Article 32 proceeding have not been scheduled.
Scheller gained notoriety last month when he posted a video on social media calling for accountability from military leaders for the way the withdrawal from Afghanistan occurred, including the Islamic State’s terrorist attack that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 Afghan nationals. He posted subsequent videos detailing the consequences of his speech, including the hearing.
The Republican lawmakers wrote to Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, and Maj. Gen. David Bligh, the staff judge advocate to the commandant, on Wednesday.
“We request that LTC. Scheller be released from pretrial confinement and be housed in the least restrictive form of housing,” the lawmakers wrote, saying that they do “not believe and have seen no evidence that LTC Scheller poses a grave risk of criminal misconduct.”
They also said that Scheller’s “confinement appears to be simply for messaging, retribution, and convenience.”
Scheller said in the first of his viral videos: “The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down. People are upset because their senior leaders let them down. And none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed up.'”
He has not been charged, though there are four specific charges that will be considered during his hearing: Article 88 (contempt toward officials), Article 90 (willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer), Article 92 (failure to obey lawful general orders), and Article 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman), according to a Marine Corps spokesperson.
“As with all congressional correspondence, we will respond directly to the authors of the letter,” Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesman, told the Washington Examiner when asked specifically about the letter from Capitol Hill.