Ft. Stewart, Georgia May 14, 2006
By Mike Ferner
The court martial of Army Sgt. Kevin Benderman for refusing to deploy to Iraq with the Third Infantry Division has taken two dramatic turns before it has begun. On Wednesday, in the no-frills courtroom here at this sprawling Army post near Savannah, Col. Stephen Henley granted a motion filed by defense attorneys for a new Article 32 hearing, setting the proceedings against Benderman back to square one. Then, as the process began anew the next day, the Army filed two new allegations against the 40 year-old sergeant that could add up to 10 more years to his sentence if he is found guilty.
In granting the defense’s motion for appropriate relief and dismissing Taylor’s findings, Henley restarted the Army’s case against Benderman with a new Article 32 hearing that began yesterday morning. But before the day was out, Army attorneys, attempting to bolster their case against Benderman, filed two specifications of larceny one for $1,947.50 in hazardous duty and family separation pay he allegedly received even though he did not go to Iraq and $975.33 of federal income taxes that are routinely waived for soldiers deployed to combat zones.
Benderman’s civilian attorney, William Cassara, called the larceny charges “silly,” noting that out of 20 soldiers in Benderman’s division who did not deploy to Iraq for various reasons, four others were also overpaid. He said none of them had been charged with larceny, and added he was confident they would be able to disprove the Army’s charges.
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Read more: Benderman Court Martial Delayed