Political News

Navy commander accused in bribery scandal has hearing

Posted August 31

— A Navy commander accused of accepting bribes from a Malaysian contractor who supplied the Japan-based 7th fleet has had the military's equivalent of a preliminary hearing to show if there's probable cause to proceed with a court-martial.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Cmdr. Jason Starmer had the hearing at Naval Station Norfolk on Wednesday.

Starmer is accused of accepting expensive dinners, drinks, and prostitutes from Leonard Francis, otherwise known as "Fat Leonard," in 2012 and 2013. Francis has pleaded guilty to presiding over a conspiracy involving bribes and gifts in exchange for Navy contracts in Southeast Asia.

Coast Guard Lt. Robert Canoy argued that as operations director at the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group in Bangkok, Thailand, his client wasn't important enough to be part of a conspiracy.

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