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NCIS agent taken off Green Beret murder investigation for reportedly being romantically involved with a witness
An NCIS agent was removed from the investigation into the June 2017 hazing death of Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar for reportedly having a romantic relationship with a witness.
The Daily Beast reporter Kevin Maurer first reported that defense attorneys for two of the special operators charged with murder and other offenses in connection with Melgar's death will argue that the NCIS agent became romantically involved with the witness, who worked in the intelligence community.
NCIS spokesman Jeff Houston confirmed to Task & Purpose that an agent had been removed from the case but he declined to say why.
"Upon receipt of a credible misconduct allegation, NCIS immediately removed the agent from the investigation and referred the matter for appropriate action, consistent with applicable Human Resources guidelines and policies," Houston said in a statement.
"Out of respect for the ongoing investigative and judicial processes, NCIS will not comment further until those processes have concluded."
An Article 32 hearing for Navy Special Operations Chief Tony DeDolph and Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez began on Monday and could last until Tuesday, said Elizabeth Baker, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.
Navy prosecutors declined to discuss how the alleged relationship between the NCIS agent and the witness could affect the Melgar case, Baker told Task & Purpose on Monday.
Prior to Monday's hearing, DeDolph's civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose that he would bring up the issue with the NCIS agent in court.
"Remedies at the Article 32 are limited; however, credibility is always a relevant decision making role," Stackhouse said on Sunday.
Madera-Rodriguez's civilian attorney Colby Vokey could not be reached for comment.
Melgar died on June 4, 2017 in Bamako, Mali, after DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez broke into his room along with two other U.S. troops, a British special operator, and a Malian security guard, all of whom planned to bind Melgar with duct tape and make a video of him being sexually assaulted. DeDloph is accused of placing Melgar in a chokehold until he died.
Navy Special Operator 2nd Class Adam Matthews was sentenced to one year in prison, reduction in rank to E-5, and a possible bad conduct discharge. Matthews is also under investigation for allegedly trying to manipulate Melgar's widow by discussing the case with her without revealing that he was charged with her husband's death.
Marine Pvt. Kevin Maxwell Jr. was sentenced to four years in prison, reduction in rank to E-1, and a bad conduct discharge.
This is the second high profile case where an investigator has been accused of misconduct. Army Spc. Mark Delacruz pleaded guilty in May to wearing the Purple Heart and other decorations he had not earned. Delacruz had been the Army's lead investigator in the Maj. Matthew Golsteyn murder case.
Golsteyn is charged with murder for acknowledging he killed an unarmed Afghan man, whom he believed was a Taliban bomb-maker who intended to kill an Afghan tribal leader. President Donald Trump has called Golsteyn, a "U.S. military hero."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.
Nine years after losing both legs in Afghanistan, he's found purpose in family, friends and inspiring others
There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.
To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.
Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.
On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.
It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I believe in post-traumatic growth," Jones said. "That means you go through tough and difficult situations and on the back end through recovery, you learn strength."
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.