14 April 2009
from Associated Press
A U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday that a Marine cannot sue a U.S. lawmaker for defamation after the congressman accused his squad of war crimes and murdering Iraqi women and children.
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich claimed Rep. John Murtha damaged his reputation by saying the squad he was leading killed women and children "in cold blood" in Haditha, Iraq, on Nov. 19, 2005. Wuterich is charged with nine counts of voluntary manslaughter and other allegations for the attack.
Murtha and the Justice Department argued the congressman has immunity from the lawsuit because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the comments to reporters. A three-judge panel on U.S. Court of Appeals agreed.