A lawyer representing a Marine major who was nearly separated from the Corps for sharing classified information to warn others about a possible insider attack in Afghanistan says he’ll ask to hold the Secretary of the Navy in contempt of court if the government doesn’t turn over necessary documents to his client.
In 2016, Brezler won a court case that overturned a Marine Corps decision to discharge him for improperly handling classified information and prompted the Corps to hold a new board of inquiry.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco in New York ruled in 2016 that the government had not granted Brezler full access to records and documents that he needed to fully argue his case and rebut accusations against him.
But, almost two years later, Brezler has yet to receive those documents.
“To date, the government productions have been meager, redacted, duplicative, and overall lacking in substance," Bowe said in an emailed statement to Marine Corps Times.
"This extended wait for basic evidentiary production has left Major Brezler no choice but to seek relief from the courts since no one within the Department of Defense or the Department of the Navy seem willing to recognize his overall excellent record of performance both at home as part of the elite FDNY Rescue 2 fire company and abroad in both the Iraq and Afghan wars.”
“Major Brezler’s sole desire throughout this ordeal is to continue his honorable service; to keep the title of Marine. To that end, he, and those representing him will continue his fight for this singular honor, up to and including holding the Secretary of the Navy in contempt of the federal court’s order, if that’s what’s required,” he added.
Military.com had first reported that Maj. Jason Brezler’s lawyer, Michael Bowe, had sent a letter to Leigh Wasserstrom, special assistant U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York, stating that he would ask a judge to hold the government in contempt of court if it did not provide necessary documents his client needs to argue his case.
Brezler’s trouble started in 2012 when he sent classified information over his personal email account to warn Marines about a corrupt Afghan police chief with links to the Taliban.
The major was also accused of returning home from his deployment to Afghanistan with classified information to write a book.
The Marine Corps said it would not comment on ongoing litigation.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.