The defense called an oral surgeon Thursday who testified by phone from Baghdad. He said Abed might have bitten an ulcer on his lip, causing it to bleed. Defense attorneys hope this validates their position that no assault occurred and that Al Qaeda detainees are trained to injure themselves then claim abuse.
Earlier, after the prosecution and defense both rested their cases, prosecutors Thursday announced they needed time to present a rebuttal. They were basically trying to rehabilitate their key witness, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Demartino, who claims he saw McCabe punch the prisoner in the stomach. Demartino’s character and credibility had been questioned by a string of defense witnesses Wednesday, many of them Navy SEALs. A rebuttal witness Thursday morning, Demartino’s former superior officer, called Demartino “one of my top sailors—I can depend on him for anything.”
Defense witnesses on Wednesday had painted a picture of Demartino as unstable, unreliable and, after the incident with Abed, “distraught.” According to testimony, Demartino was worried his career would be ruined because a prisoner claimed abuse on his watch, and that he would no longer have a chance for his dream job with the California Highway Patrol. This, the defense claims, gives Demartino a motive to lie.
Demartino did not immediately report the alleged assault to his superiors and admits to dereliction of duty. The defense suggested that since Demartino initially said nothing, then later described seeing McCabe punch Abed, he’s an unreliable witness.
Pretty amazing that they brought this to trial with little more than Demartino and a jihadi attesting that it happened, but then the point here was always political. They wanted to show that they take detainee abuse seriously and were hoping the accused would accept some sort of deal. No dice. How’d that work out for them?
McCabe is being interviewed on Fox News right now. I’ll update with the video later when it’s posted.
Update: Here’s the clip. Click the image to watch.