Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller is unlikely to be punished by the judge presiding over his military trial after the Marine pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his criticism of the Biden administration's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a source told Newsmax on Thursday.
The source said the judge was reviewing Scheller's plea agreement and is expected to rule that the maximum sentence consist of a letter of reprimand. Scheller could also reportedly have to forfeit some of his monthly pay for up to a year.
If the plea deal is signed off on, his separation from the Marines would be classified as "general - under honorable conditions," the source said.
Scheller called for military leaders to be held accountable after 13 U.S. service members were killed in an ISIS-K suicide bombing during the evacuation phase at Kabul's airport.
In entering his plea of guilty to all charges and specifications, Scheller waived his right to a trial by jury and chose trial by military judge alone.
Prosecutors charged Scheller with several offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Scheller has been accused of showing contempt toward officials, showing disrespect toward superior commissioned officers, willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, dereliction in the performance of duties, failure to obey an order or regulation, and conduct unbecoming to an officer and a gentleman, according to Task & Purpose.
The 17-year Marine took to social media various times with calls for senior leaders to be held accountable, and he was reduced by his command to work in an office. After being given a gag order, Scheller violated that order and was sent to a military prison, for a week while he awaited a pretrial hearing for violating the gag order.
In a stipulation-of-fact court document, a copy of which was obtained by Newsmax, Scheller listed everything he has said that incurred the wrath of his superiors.
On Aug. 26 — the day the 13 service members were killed by a suicide bomber — Scheller posted a video to social media and argued that military leaders had not been held accountable for mistakes made during the Afghanistan withdrawal.
"I'm not saying we've got to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying: Did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, 'Hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone,'" Scheller said in the video, which was shared to both Facebook and LinkedIn.
"Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say, 'We completely messed this up.'"
Scheller earned praise for risking his career just a few years short of retirement to say what many service members, veterans, and military families were thinking as they watched the Taliban take over Afghanistan.
Critics saw Scheller as a rogue Marine officer who, while still in uniform, openly criticized military leaders.
Scheller on Aug. 31 took to social media to claim that Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger wanted to court-martial him. Those posts later were deleted.
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