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My nightmare began in July of 2014 whenever I was told by NCIS that I was under investigation for sexual assault. If found in this situation, do not feel that telling NCIS the truth of your innocence will remedy the situation — they are out to ultimately convict you in a general court martial. By my second interview with NCIS, they stacked even more charges to my charge sheet and I panicked. I scoured the internet and notified my family that I needed to hire a civilian attorney to fight these Article 120 (UCMJ) charges immediately. After talking to one particular civilian attorney who was completely unprofessional in his consultation with myself, is when I found Michael.
My first phone conversation with Michael was reassuring and comforting. The man knows military justice law in and out. He believed in my innocence from day one and his calm, professional, and collective demeanor led myself to retain his representation. I couldn’t have made a better choice. Sure, some could say his fees are a bit “high” but when it came to a felony conviction, 67 years in brig confinement, sexual offender registry; this decision was an easy one to make. Money can always be repairable but the aforementioned cocktail of legal repercussions, can not be. He even worked with myself every step of the way financially because he knew I did not make a lot of money.
Michael flew out here to join my military JAG in an attempt to drop these ridiculous charges at the Article 32 hearing. Both of my “victims” refused to testify or even, show up to the hearing (March 2015). They basically accused myself of terrible crimes and we did not see them from the date of accusations (July 2014) until my general court martial (September 2015). Seriously.
Given the political agenda behind sexual assault convictions in the military that I saw from many of Michael’s “Military Law Network” videos posted on his website, the preliminary hearing officer’s (PHO) recommendation for referral of my charges to general court martial frustratingly came to no surprise. Even though we presented an excellent case, it was now time to prepare for the general court martial (GCM).
Months later, Michael again flew out to Italy to take on the government in my ridiculous case at my GCM. From the very first witness who testified on the stand (the main accuser in the case), Michael tore apart the credibility by forcing her to make continual contradictory statements that made absolutely no sense to the jury. At one point, his co-counsel wrote a note, stating his cross-examination of her was “a bloodbath”. I couldn’t agree more. He continued this expert level of questioning witnesses, tearing apart their credibility, and presenting favorable evidence at little pin-point accurate moments throughout the trial. His dismantling of credibility didn’t just stop at the witnesses, he additionally called out the prosecution for a multitude of factors. The prosecution, knowing that they had a very weak case, tried shady tactics in order to somehow win a conviction: overly objecting, “cherry picking” evidence that would only support their case, berating witnesses, etc.. Michael would have none of it.
I wasn’t sure where Michael was going with his closing argument but as he continued on, it was literally a masterpiece in the making. Even the people who attended the GCM asked “who is the guy in that suit that is destroying everybody in this case?”. I always felt the proud sensation and urge to yell at them, “that’s my attorney!”. He made me that proud in the courtroom at all times.
After presenting closing arguments, the verdict finally came out after a 4.5 hour deliberation: “we find Sailor XX…NOT GUILTY on all charges and specifications.”.
Please hire Michael if you are in a similar situation — your freedom is too important to not because I can say with complete confidence, he will be your best fighting chance.
My family and I owe you everything Michael. Thank you so much.