Commander in Fitzgerald collision accuses Navy of litigating criminal case in public
WASHINGTON — Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who commanded the USS Fitzgerald at the time of a deadly collision last year, fired back late Tuesday against a series of statements from the Navy that he called “prejudicial” about his pending court-martial.
Benson, through his legal team, issued his most extensive comments to date about the crash and rejected what he portrayed as harmful statements by the Navy to assign guilt before his court-martial.
His attorneys pointed to a recent Navy news release that suggested Benson had failed to "accept responsibility” for the crash that left seven sailors dead because he had declined to plead guilty, as well as other comments that they attributed to senior Navy officials.
"Cmdr. Benson's approach to accountability stands in stark contrast to the Navy's method of litigating this case through the media and other out-of-court opinions," his attorneys Justin Henderson and Ben Robertson said Tuesday in a joint statement. "Rather than achieving accountability, the Navy's strategy harms the very system of justice that is designed to protect sailors.”
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