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Navy Captain To Face Charges In Ongoing 'Fat Leonard' Scandal
A Navy captain who once commanded a destroyer squadron attached to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is the latest to face charges in military court in connection with the long-running “Fat Leonard” scandal.
Capt. John F. Steinberger appeared briefly for an arraignment over video conference on Dec. 5 from San Diego, where he is assigned to the Undersea Warfighting Development Center. He faces charges including conspiracy, violation of a lawful order, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, graft, and bribery, according to a charge sheet.
“Fat Leonard” is the nickname for the massive corruption scandal that has embroiled the Navy’s 7th Fleet. It is named for Leonard Francis, the owner and chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to presiding over a conspiracy involving “scores” of Navy officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud and millions of dollars in bribes and gifts in return for lucrative contracts to provide services to ships while in southeast Asia, according to the Department of Justice.
According to a charge sheet, Steinberger conspired with Francis from Jan. 22, 2011, through about April 27, 2012, and accepted gifts of “discounted and free hotel rooms, food, beverages, and services of prostitutes” at or near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Hong Kong; and Perth, Australia, in exchange for providing information about competitors and attempting to influence senior officials in the selection of locations of port visits and the husbanding of Navy vessels to the benefit the out-sized defense contractor.
Steinberger declined to enter a plea Tuesday. He is the fourth naval officer to appear before a military judge in Norfolk in recent months in connection with the scandal after the Justice Department declined to press federal charges. His appearance came just days after a federal judge in San Diego sentenced Cmdr. Bobby Pitts, of Chesapeake, to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to obstructing an investigation while leading the Navy’s Fleet Industrial Supply Command in Singapore, the Associated Press reported Friday.
A trial is scheduled for June 7-15. If convicted on all charges, Steinberger could face a maximum sentence of 14 years and six months confinement, dismissal from the Navy, forfeiture of all pay and allowance, and a fine. According to a Navy biography, Steinberger received his commission in July 1987.
As the DOJ wades through the Fat Leonard scandal, it has declined to prosecute 482 people whose names it has subsequently forwarded to the Norfolk-based U.S. Fleet Forces Command, which is handling the Navy’s review. According to officials, the service has reviewed evidence in 318 of those and found that 48 have substantiated allegations of misconduct, most of which relate to accepting gifts from a prohibited source. Another 164 names are pending review.
©2017 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.