Commander in Fitzgerald collision asserts innocence, attacks Navy’s claims

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The Navy said it is filing at least three charges against four officers of the USS Fitzgerald, including the commanding officer, who was Cmdr. Bryce Benson at the time. A Navy investigation found that Benson left the ship's bridge before the collision. Also facing charges are two lieutenants and one lieutenant junior grade, whose names were not disclosed.  U.S. NAVY PHOTO
From Stripes.com
The Navy said it is filing at least three charges against four officers of the USS Fitzgerald, including the commanding officer, who was Cmdr. Bryce Benson at the time. A Navy investigation found that Benson left the ship's bridge before the collision. Also facing charges are two lieutenants and one lieutenant junior grade, whose names were not disclosed. U.S. NAVY PHOTO

Commander in Fitzgerald collision asserts innocence, attacks Navy’s claims

by: Claudia Grisales | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: May 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for the former USS Fitzgerald commander in charge during the ship’s deadly collision last year are firing back against a series of Navy statements that they claim could damage his pending court-martial.

Lawyers for Cmdr. Bryce Benson on Tuesday issued a surprising one-page rebuke of statements from senior Navy leaders and other officials since last year. The statement from Lt. Cmdr. Justin Henderson and Cmdr. Ben Robertson detailed Benson’s most extensive comments to date about the incident and claimed the Navy’s harmful comments assigned guilt before his court-martial.

On Wednesday, Henderson said his client will be asserting his innocence.

“We are not pleading guilty,” he said. “There will be no agreement.”

Benson, 41, is facing charges of negligent homicide, negligent dereliction of duty and negligent hazarding of a vessel.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.527227

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