The Marine Corps nixed a detention hearing at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 5, and agreed to release outspoken Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller from pretrial confinement.
The Marines’ retreat came after Coffee or Die Magazine and congressional staffers questioned why the Corps planned to bar the public, media, and lawmakers from the initial review officer’s hearing to determine whether Scheller would continue to be held as a “flight risk,” pending an upcoming Article 32 hearing and possible trial by court-martial.
Coffee or Die urged Marine leaders to stay the hearing, pending an emergency petition to federal court, so that all media could attend Scheller’s proceedings in North Carolina.
Marine spokespersons did not return messages seeking comment about Scheller’s release.
They also did not respond to emailed questions about issues previously raised by the lieutenant colonel’s legal team and federal lawmakers, including if he’s still subject to a gag order issued by Col. David Emmel and whether senior officials would greenlight Scheller’s request to exit the service.
Scheller’s pro bono attorney, Brian Ferguson, also declined comment when reached at Camp Lejeune by Coffee or Die.
Scheller rocketed to fame in the aftermath of an Aug. 26 viral video, when he voiced his “growing discontent and contempt” for the “ineptitude” of military and civilian leaders during the bungled evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghans from Taliban-controlled Kabul.
The 17-year combat veteran continued to make videos and social media posts after Marine leaders removed him from command of the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at the School of Infantry-East aboard Camp Lejeune.
In a letter to the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant, my colleagues and I have asked that LTC Stuart Scheller be released from pretrial confinement: pic.twitter.com/vTSBXTvKvh
— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) September 30, 2021
Scheller tried to back up his derogatory words about senior leaders’ accountability by resigning his commission and departing the service. Instead, the Corps jailed him while leaders prepared charges for allegedly violating Article 88 (contempt for officials), Article 90 (willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer’s orders), Article 92 (failure to obey a lawful general order), and Article 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman).
Internal files leaked to Coffee or Die revealed ongoing discussions between Marine officials, Capitol Hill lawmakers, and Scheller’s legal team to broker a deal that would let the maverick lieutenant colonel leave uniformed service in exchange for pleading guilty at court martial to some, but not all, of these charges.