German Police Detective Has Memory Issues Like Accuser

Unlike most people who read reporter Nancy Montgomery‘s article published Saturday in Stars and Stripes, I noticed something terribly wrong in some of the comments attributed to German police detective Daniel Lorch.  His words conflicted with the real-life events chronicled in my book, Three Days In August, which chronicles the life story of former Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart and the military justice debacle that ended his stellar career as a Green Beret and landed him behind bars at Fort Leavenworth.

Kelly A Stewart with Book

Kelly A. Stewart with copy of book.

About halfway into the Stripes article, Montgomery shared comments made by Detective Lorch about his experience as an investigator and his personal opinion “that (Stewart) was guilty” of a variety of sexual assault-related charges stemming from a one-night stand involving the highly-decorated Special Forces soldier and a 28-year-old German woman.  The reporter did not, however, include any comments by the detective about the complete lack of physical evidence and eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes.

Next, Montgomery attributed a statement to the detective about a taxi driver being among the people (plural) who had allegedly seen Stewart’s accuser the morning she left his hotel and later provided corroborating trial testimony.  Apparently, the reporter did not ask the detective for details about those people.  Nor did she ask about their testimony during the trial.  Why?  Because, contrary to what the detective said, only the taxi driver testified as a witness during the trail.  Additional witnesses to her departure from the hotel could not be found.

Finally, Montgomery quoted Detective Lorch on the matter of what the taxi driver allegedly saw when she picked up the accuser outside Stewart’s hotel:

“He described, very detailed, very clearly, her physical damage,” Lorch said. “He was sure something very bad had happened to this woman.”

The detective repeatedly referred to the taxi driver in the masculine sense when, in reality, the taxi driver was a middle-age woman with memory issues.  I highlighted those issues in the book and in an Oct. 7, 2011, post.  An excerpt from the post appears below:

During questioning six months before the trial, according to official court documents, the taxi driver told German police officials, “I’m sorry I don’t see her in front of my eyes anymore right now,” later adding, “I believe she had blonde dyed hair.  I don’t remember her clothing or age right now anymore.”

During the trial one year after she had allegedly picked up Stewart’s 28-year-old accuser in front of the Stuttgart-Marriott Hotel in Sindelfingen, Germany, the taxi driver was able to remember accurate details about Stewart’s accuser (i.e., that she was wearing knee-high boots, had long black hair, etc.) that she wasn’t able to remember when it should have been fresh on her mind.  A miracle perhaps or was it coaching by prosecutors that helped her “improve” her memory?

Montgomery’s article came 24 days after she had contacted me via email, informing me that she was interested in doing a story about the latest development in the Stewart case, had read my website and wanted to talk.

In a written reply to Montgomery, I told her I had spent a lot of time one year earlier with John Vandiver, a Stuttgart-based Stripes reporter, and that the effort — via phone and email — had yielded not a single story.  Furthermore, I told her, I wasn’t excited about speaking with Stripes again and shared a link to a story I published April 19, 2012.

Montgomery persisted, however, and wrote that her story would be about the “latest legal step, the request for reconsideration” from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

KAS Stripes BOLO Poster

“Be On The Lookout” poster issued Aug. 20, 2009.

Because I had written about the CAAF-level step in the appeals process Nov. 27, 2012, I decided to make an offer to the reporter.

“Shoot me all of of your questions and let me know your deadline,” I wrote, “then I’ll do my best to answer them by your deadline while allowing time for follow up.”

Rather than shoot me a list of questions, however, Montgomery informed me that she was going to review some of what Vandiver had gathered when he had talked with me a year earlier.  She said she didn’t want to “duplicate some of the work he already did with you and ask questions you’ve already answered.  But I am wondering how you got involved in the case.  I don’t have a deadline yet.”

Montgomery was, of course, referring to a Nov. 21, 2011, phone interview I gave to Vandiver.  It was followed by several email messages and resulted in three articles — #1, #2 and #3 — being published early in 2012.  Unfortunately, all were published by yours truly, not Stripes.

“Nancy, I talked with John about how and why I became interested in the case,” I replied.  “I also wrote a piece about it:  http://threedaysinaugust.com/?p=1136.”

And that was that.

Montgomery did not forward any more questions or make any further attempts to obtain my input.  In fact, her name did not appear on my radar again until today when Stripes published her report about the status of Stewart’s appeals process — a report from which she not only omitted my name and the name of my book, but failed to share critical details I had published Thursday in an update to my Nov. 27 piece, Green Beret’s Defense Attorneys Cite Ineffective Counsel During Trial, Ask Court to Reconsider:

UPDATE 12/20/2012 at 8:30 a.m. Central:  Bad news received from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces:  “On consideration of Appellant’s petition for reconsideration of this Court’s order issued November 15, 2012, it is, by the Court, this, 19th day of December, 2012,  ORDERED:  That said petition for reconsideration is hereby denied.  For the Court, /s/ William A. DeCicco, Clerk of the Court.”

To read the never-before-published details about Stewart’s wrongful conviction, read the book, Three Days In August.  Based on 18 months of research, interviews with the key players and access to the actual Record of Trial, this book is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

UPDATE 12/28/2012 at 9:42 a.m. Central:  Five days ago, I shared a new observation about the latest Stripes article on Stewart’s case.  It’s a doozie.  See German Police Detective Has Memory Issues Like Accuser.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Newspaper Sits on Truth About Green Beret’s Bogus Conviction

Kelly A. Stewart

ON AUGUST 20, 2009, Stars and Stripes editors were understandably quick to publish Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart‘s mugshot after he was convicted and sentenced by a court-martial panel during three days in August 2009.  Since then, however, they have been unwilling to publish details of what actually took place inside a U.S. military courtroom in German and resulted in the wrongful conviction of a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran.

ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY DAYS AGO, I was interviewed by John Vandiver, a Stuttgart-based reporter for the 70-year-old publication for members of the U.S. military community in Europe.  The subject of the interview was the book I had written and published last fall about Stewart’s life and wrongful conviction, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

FIFTY-TWO DAYS LATER, it became clear that Stripes editors were not interested in publishing the nitty-gritty details of the case.

In a Feb. 27 post, I speculated about several possible reasons why they had yet to run an article based on the interview.  Among the reasons I cited was the fact that Vandiver, through no fault of his own, was unable to land the extensive interviews with key players or obtain a copy of the Record of Trial — two things that make my book about Stewart’s case so captivating at the same time as it dismantled the prosecution’s case against the soldier.

ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY DAYS after my interview with Vandiver, Stripes continues to sit on the story about my book and, in turn, continues to sit on the facts underlying his wrongful conviction, many of which were never heard by members of the 10-member court-martial panel that heard the case.

TODAY, on the day Stewart’s case went before the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, Stripes published a 400-word piece, Ex-Green Beret begins appeal of sex assault conviction.  Unfortunately for those who hunger for the truth, the article made no mention of the book or the fact that its author — yours truly — had been interviewed about it almost six months ago.

WHAT AM I TO THINK NOW?

I’m convinced Stripes editors are content running interference for a system that wrongfully convicted an elite soldier based almost solely on the words of an accuser with a history of mental issues that were never allowed to surface during the trial.  Apparently, they don’t fear being held responsible when tens of thousands of members of the military eventually learn about Stewart’s case and realize, “That could’ve been me!”

Want to find out what Stripes editors are not willing to share with you?  Read Three Days In August, a book that paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

UPDATE 4/20/12 at 12:33 p.m. Central:  This morning, I attempted to leave a comment below the above-referenced story published by Stripes yesterday.  Hopefully, by Monday morning, the site’s moderator will have approved my comment.

UPDATE 12/28/2012 at 9:43 a.m. Central:  Five days ago, I shared a new observation about the latest Stripes article on Stewart’s case.  It’s a doozie.  See German Police Detective Has Memory Issues Like Accuser.

Is Green Beret’s Story Too Hot for Editors at Stars and Stripes?

On Nov. 21, I was interviewed by John Vandiver, a Stuttgart-based reporter for Stars and Stripes, the newspaper published continuously since 1942 for members of the U.S. military community in Europe.  The subject of the interview was my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, which chronicles the life story and wrongful conviction of a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart.

Near the end of my interview with Vandiver, he told me, “I really appreciate you taking some time to talk about the book and the case, so we can have a story out shortly about the efforts of Kelly to have a retrial.”  I was hopeful.

During the 98 days since that interview took place, several well-respected writers and journalists have shared their opinions about the book.  For instance:

Richard Miniter

Richard Miniter, the award-winning investigative journalist, New York Times best-selling author, radio host, public speaker and frequent world traveler, read the book and described it as “Well-written and thoroughly researched” before adding that it “paints a convincing portrait of a military justice process that appears to have lacked one essential element – justice.”

American Legion New Media Editor Mark Seavey, himself an Army combat veteran, read the book and used 1,700 words to explain his conclusion that Stewart “was railroaded by German protection laws”; and

Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller, best-selling author and founder of AtlasShrugs.com, read the book and published a glowing review which included this harsh conclusion:  “What emerges is a picture of a military establishment that is cowed by political correctness to the extent that it is even willing to throw our fighting men and women to the wolves to appease the left.

For some reason, however, Stripes hasn’t published Vandiver’s article.

On Feb. 21, Vandiver forwarded bad news in the most recent of many email exchanges since the interview.  His editors had told him they “need a more solid news development in order for the story to run” and, as a result, he’s “in a holding pattern until the hearing is held on Kelly’s appeal request.”

Apparently, the publication of a book that essentially shreds the government’s case against a soldier is either not considered “newsworthy enough” by Stripes editors or it’s simply too hot for them to publish.  I suspect the latter.

It could be that Stripes editors are intentionally suppressing the story in an attempt to maintain good relations with German government officials while keeping U.S. military personnel in the dark about the case, the details of which might cause them to think, “That could’ve been me!”

Alternatively, it could be because Vandiver, through no fault of his own, was not able to land interviews with key players — because none of the players on either side are talking — or obtain a copy of the Record of Trial which I was able to get. As the appeal process approaches another important milestone, none of the key players — including, on the advice of his attorney, Stewart — are talking.

Regardless of what Stripes editors choose to report about Stewart’s case, you don’t have to wait to find out what really happened.  You can make your own judgments based upon never-before-published details of the case found only in my book, Three Days In August.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.