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High-profile Marine Corps administrative discharge hearing ends

It would be sheer understatement to say that Marine Corps Maj. Jason Brezler’s recent administrative discharge hearing commanded comparatively heavy attention.

In Brezler’s hearing last month, which was marked by three days of arguments and testimony, nine witnesses testified on his behalf. His attorneys submitted scores of recommendation letters lauding Brezler’s personal character, and broad support was voiced by multiple Marine generals and national legislators. Additionally, and as noted by an article discussing Brezler’s hearing and outcome, his case “received a flurry of press attention from media outlets.”

Notwithstanding the magnitude of support he received, a three-member Administrative Discharge Board recommended that Brezler be separated from the Marine Corps for his improper handling of classified military information. The board recommended that Brezler receive an honorable discharge.

Brezler became an investigatory target when it was revealed that he sent classified information on his personal computer account regarding an Afghan official with suspected Taliban affiliations.

Brezler took the initiative to report that conduct and cooperate in the investigation. Although that salutary conduct was noted, the probe resulted in a number of other confidential documents being found in an unsecure computer folder. Brezler told the board that his breach of protocols for handling protected data was innocent and inadvertent.

A Marine prosecutor disagreed, stating that Brezler knowingly retained classified information as a resource to aid his efforts to write a book about his military experiences in Afghanistan.

The board ultimately determined that Brezler, who is a Reserve officer and firefighter, had engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer.

Brezler offered no comment following the hearing, and it was not immediately clear whether he would appeal the board’s decision.

The case illustrates well the strong need that any service member has for proven and aggressive legal defense when he or she is targeted for administrative separation from the military for any reason.

A hearing outcome can depend on many things, including a thorough investigation of the command’s case, comprehensive and accurate presentation of evidence, the offering of testimony from supportive witnesses and effective cross-examination.

An experienced military discharge attorney can provide relevant information and rigorous representation in any hearing-related matter.

Source: Marine Corps Times, "Brezler should be separated, board finds," Hope Hodge Seck, Dec. 19, 2013

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