U.S. v. Air Force E-2 –Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, Montana
Allegations: Article 120 Rape
Max Punishment: 30 years in prison, Dishonorable Discharge, Sex offender registration
Result: All Charges Dismissed on the day of trial
Location/Branch/Rank: Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, MT/Air Force/E-2
Our client was a 22-year-old African American airman that met a 38-year-old white woman, JT, at the Buffalo, a sleazy local bar. They had a six-week sexual relationship. Over time, their relationship fell apart. There was lots of fighting and other crazy behavior.
JT allegedly decided to end the relationship so she went to our client’s dorm to break up with him. Once inside, she said that he forcibly removed her pants and raped her. Afterward, she left his room and immediately called 911 immediately. The Great Falls Police and OSI started an investigation.
That night, JT went to the local emergency room for a SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination). Our client’s DNA was found on her vaginal swab. OSI conducted their typical biased investigation into our client. They looked for evidence to use against him and ignored evidence that proved his innocence. As usual, they took the alleged victim’s word as the truth and failed to look into her past, even though they knew that she was shady. This mistake came back to hurt them as the defense prepared for trial.
After a 9 month investigation, the Air Force charged our client with rape.
Our client submitted a Chapter 4 discharge in lieu of court-martial. If approved, he would have received an Other Than Honorable Discharge. The alleged victim, who had a history of criminal behavior and psychiatric problems, demanded that the Air Force reject the Chapter 4. The Air Force commander took the victim’s advice, denied the Chapter 4, and pressed forward to trial.
Defense Investigation Reveals a History of Criminal Misconduct
During pre-trial preparations, we conducted an extensive investigation that uncovered the “victim’s” seedy past.
-We learned that she previously falsely accused a sailor of rape and tried to extort money from him.
-She was a drug user. Two weeks before the trial, she and her sister were in drug rehab.
-She was living with a convicted Mexican drug trafficker named Julio Gonzalez.
-After getting involved with Julio, she infiltrated the Great Falls prison system by lying on a job application. She was then hired as a prison worker. She was later fired when the prison learned of her involvement with Julio and his gang of criminals. Julio was then arrested and sent to Federal Prison in California.
Despite these developments, the Air Force pressed forward to trial. Days before the court-martial, the Malmstrom Commander held a mandatory, base-wide briefing. At the briefing, he ranted about how he was not happy with recent court-martial outcomes (Not Guilty). All of the potential court-martial jurors attended. At the briefing, the Commander talked about how they had a duty to hold airmen responsible for sexual assault. He then stated that “There is no report unless there is a sexual assault.” Therefore, ALL reported sexual assaults are true. Because of this, we filed a motion to dismiss for Unlawful Command Influence (UCI).
The Defense Prepares for Battle
For the trial, the defense brought in a world-class team of forensic experts. Computer genius, Josiah Roloff, used his hacking skills to recover Google searches from JT’s phone. Hours before JT accused our client, she was Googling “how to hurt yourself so you can blame in on a man.”
Vangie Barefoot, a renowned Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner, tore apart the prosecution’s sex assault report and prepared a scathing cross-examination for their nurse. Our forensic psychologist, Dr. Richart DeMier helped psychoanalyze the alleged victim and prepare her cross-examination. Deanna Lankford, our DNA expert was prepared to take out the government’s DNA expert, if necessary.
Before trial, we investigated key locations around Great Falls and went to AF OSI to examine the physical evidence.
We also wrote an MRE 412 motion exposing some of the holes in the prosecution’s case and exposing JT’s history of lying. This motion and the pre-trial preparation was key to the outcome of this case.
At 8:15 AM, on Monday, April 9, 2018, we showed up at the courtroom, ready for trial. At 9:00 AM, the prosecution asked for a delay because JT had yet to arrive. By 10 AM, JT was AWOL and dodging the prosecution’s calls.
Around 10:15 AM, the General dismissed the case.
At 11:30 AM, the JT and her sister were seen getting their nails done at a local nail salon. They were laughing and joking about how they “blew off” the prosecutors and talking trash on the Air Force.
The defense team went hiking at the Sluice Boxes State Park. Our client went to dinner with his family.