Lawyer Says Soldiers Accused of Racism Are Victims
Posted February 25, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
FORT BRAGG — Three Fort Bragg soldiers accused of extremist activity are being called victims, not racists. The private attorney for the three non-commissioned officers says his clients are being made into scapegoats.
Through their attorney,the three soldiers say they are insulted to be accused of possible extremist activity. While the investigation continues, the three instructors have chosen military leave rather than be stripped of their teaching duties and being transferred to another unit on post.
Todd Conorman is the attorney for three instructors at the JFK Special Warfare center who are being investigated for possible extremist language and attitude. He says his clients deny the accusations against them.
The three accused men have all been in the army for more than 14 years. Conorman says they are sergeants first class with impeccable military records. He says he suspects they were turned in by other instructors only after a confrontation the men had with a senior NCO.
As part of the investigation, police seized Civil War and Nazi books from the soldiers offices and homes. Conorman says that's not a surprise considering one of the men was taking a college course on the holocaust and all the men are well-read in military history. He says the men understand that suspicions need to be investigated following the Burmeister case in 1995. What the accused can't understand why they were detained so long without being charged.
The men say they are positive they will be cleared and they are placing their confidence in the chain of command. Because their peers and colleagues are well aware of the investigation, they say they will accept nothing less than an absolute and total vindication.
An army spokesman says he will not make further comment until the investigation is complete.