Prosecutor in Court Martial Alleged to Have Tampered With Witness

by TChris

An Air Force prosecutor apparently tried to tamper with a witness in the court-martial of Ahmad Al Halabi. (TalkLeft background here.) During Halabi's preliminary hearing, Suzan Sultan, a former Air Force translator, made a mistake.

She said she misread a letter from the Syrian government to the airman, thinking the Syrians had given Al Halabi permission to visit another Middle Eastern country, Qatar. Sultan later realized that Qatar also could mean "homeland," meaning that Al Halabi could have been telling the truth when he said he merely wanted to go to Syria to get married.

Sultan says that the prosecutor, Capt. Dennis Kaw, refused to allow her to admit the mistake. Fortunately, Sultan has a conscience, and she ratted out Kaw's unethical behavior to Halabi's civilian lawyer, Donald Rehkopf Jr. Rehkopf asked the judge to dismiss the case to sanction the prosecutor's miconduct -- a rarely granted remedy -- but the court ruled that, having foiled Kaw's attempt to cheat, the defense sustained no harm that warranted dismissal. Instead, the judge ordered the prosecutor "to forward the defense's complaint and any evidence of alleged misconduct to the Staff Judge Advocate at Travis and the Office of Professional Responsibility for Air Force lawyers in Washington."

Kaw isn't the only member of the prosecution team to demonstrate questionable character. One of the Air Force investigators who worked on Halabi's case has been charged with "rape, sodomy, fondling girls and mishandling classified material." Other investigators have been less than professional.

Rehkopf alleges that [the lead investigator] and agents with the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations drank beer, failed to wear gloves and rifled through the contents of a box seized as evidence from Al Halabi, then repacked the box to "pretend and mislead" that they were following protocol.

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