Lawyer says pre-trial ruling helps NJ native accused in Iraqi prisoner abuse case

(12/05/04) ROSELLE - A New Jersey native accused of abusing detainees inside Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison appeared in a military court this weekend in Fort Hood, Texas for pre-trial hearings. The judge in the case ruled Sunday to allow Sergeant Javal Davis' former commander to testify at his court marshal hearing on February 1.

Davis is a native of Roselle before joining the military and moving his family to Maryland. Davis' parents still live in Roselle. They believe the testimony of Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the former commander of the Abu Ghraib prison, will help clear their son's name of any claims of wrongdoing. The soldier's attorney Paul Bergrin agrees.

Sergeant Davis is accused of assaulting and mistreating prisoners and lying in official statements. Davis' defense is that he was following orders. Bergrin has 40 witnesses lined up including Abu Ghraib prisoners and military personnel. He believes the witnesses' testimony can set the record straight and help Davis.

Also prior to Davis' court marshal in February, the judge will rule on a motion to dismiss the case. That is because Davis claims the president, vice president, secretary of defense and other high-ranking military officials condemned those accused in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse case before an investigation was opened. They will argue that the influence of those officials led to Davis' court marshal.

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