Frustrated Judge Halts USS Cole Trial ‘Until a Superior Court Tells Me to Keep Going’

The judge in the trial of the man accused of planning the bombing of the USS Cole on Friday shut down the proceedings over his inability to get defense lawyers back to the death-penalty case.

Air Force Col. Vance Spath has for months now disagreed with the Chief Defense Counsel for Military Commissions, Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker, over the general’s decision and authority that released three lawyers of record from the case in October when they asked to resign over an ethical issue. On Nov. 1, after Baker refused to return veteran death-penalty defender Rick Kammen and civilian attorneys Rosa Eliades and Mary Spears to the case — the judge sentenced the general to 21 days of confinement in his quarters for disobeying an order.

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