He Became A SEAL To Fight Terrorists. Now He’s A Navy Lawyer Defending An Accused One
After suicide bombers attacked the USS Cole 17 years ago, this young Navy SEAL from Wisconsin would have gladly risked his life on a mission to snatch someone suspected of plotting the attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors.
Now, the former SEAL sits in the war court with the man accused of orchestrating the bombing that killed his shipmates. And Navy Lt. Alaric Piette, 39, is navigating a different kind of treacherous assignment.
Piette, a lawyer for just five years, is the lone attorney in court representing Saudi captive Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, whose long-serving death penalty defender and two other civilian lawyers quit the case over a clandestine ethical conflict. So across two weeks of court hearings, Piette has answered the trial judge’s instruction to litigate by arguing that until a new capital defender is found, the case cannot go on.
“When military attorneys are assigned to these cases, people just expect us to go along and roll over. And I’m not going to,” Piette said in an interview at the end of a week in which the judge sentenced the Marine general overseeing the defense teams to 21 days confinement for letting al-Nashiri’s civilian lawyers quit.
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) November 13, 2017
Piette was one of the last military attorneys hired on the team led by Rick Kammen, the 71-year-old capital defense attorney from Indiana who for years led a constantly changing cast of military lawyers with a kangaroo pin on his lapel to express his contempt for the war court system.
Their courtroom style is a study in contrast.
Where Kammen wore a kangaroo pin, Piette wears the coveted trident of a SEAL, the elite Navy unit whose slogan is …read more
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