Opening statements set in trial for Marine who vanished

AP News
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Posted: Feb 10, 2015 9:58 AM
Opening statements set in trial for Marine who vanished

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) — Opening statements are expected in the trial of a U.S. Marine who vanished from his post in Iraq a decade ago and later wound up in Lebanon.

Cpl. Wassef Hassoun faces charges of desertion, larceny and destruction of property in a bench trial before the judge, Marine Maj. Nicholas Martz.

A Marine spokesman said Tuesday that court was delayed by several hours — until noon — but didn't explain why. He says opening statements are expected Tuesday afternoon.

At least one pretrial motion hadn't been resolved as of Monday afternoon.

Prosecutors will seek to prove desertion accusations against Hassoun and that he stole a pistol.

Defense attorneys say Hassoun was kidnapped in 2004 by insurgents and later became tangled up in Lebanese courts. Prosecutors say Hassoun fled his post because he was unhappy with his deployment and U.S. troops' treatment of Iraqis.