Vice Admiral James W. Crawford, III and command influence

| August 4, 2017

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Vice Admiral James W. Crawford, III, the Navy’s senior lawyer, is being investigated for influencing a wrongful conviction of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Keith Barry, a SEAL convicted of rape in 2015. Barry has served his sentence and now he’s appealing the case on the grounds that Crawford influenced the conviction in order to make the Nvy appear tough on sex-related cases;

Barry’s appeal gained national attention when the admiral in charge of validating or reversing his rape conviction made a stunning declaration: Retired Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge, former commander of the San Diego-based Navy Region Southwest, alleged that he wanted to overturn Barry’s verdict because it lacked sufficient evidence — but didn’t do so partly because of pressure from Crawford.

Lorge claimed that Crawford encouraged him to let Barry go to prison partly to help preserve the Navy’s reputation and appease the Obama administration and congressional critics of the military justice system. Crawford believed the military needed to project a tougher image in the fight against sexual assault and warned that a clemency decision would hurt Lorge’s Navy career, Lorge alleged.

Earlier this week, Crawford was deposed in the case and he can’t seem to remember key details of discussions he had at the time, says the Union-Tribune. Convenient. The paper claims that Crawford has a hard-on for SEALs in particular.

Crawford’s unusual deposition came amid new accusations that he injected himself into another San Diego case, this one stemming from the May 6, 2016 pool drowning of Seaman James Derek Lovelace during initial SEAL training.

The Navy decided not to prosecute the two instructors involved in the death, however Crawford sent out an order that they needed to take a “second look” at the case;

Navy records leaked during the past two weeks to the Union-Tribune include an email sent from Navy Capt. Donald King — the staff judge advocate for Navy Region Southwest — to Blair Perez, the executive assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, and federal prosecutor Michelle Pettit.

King asked Perez whether she remembered “that case we talked about that the Navy declined to prosecute?”

King went on to say Crawford, the Navy’s top lawyer, “ordered a second look” at the Navy Region Southwest recommendation to forgo charges against those in the Lovelace case. NCIS agents then consulted the vice chief of naval operations and then the chief of naval operations himself, Adm. John Richardson. Those admirals also declined to pursue charges.


Word that the Union-Tribune had received records in both the Barry and Lovelace cases triggered numerous, sometimes frantic, calls from top Navy officials nationwide on Monday and Tuesday, with flag officers or their representatives inquiring into Crawford’s involvement in both matters.

Category: Navy

Comments (42)

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  1. Hondo says:

    Well, this could get interesting. Quickly.

    • Silentium Est Aureum says:

      Understatement if ever there was. I wonder how many cases would get tossed over this?

  2. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Oops… looks like he misses those lectures in Law School about ethics… and a few dozen PPT presentations about “undue command influence”.

    Sounds like the admiral has a SJW agenda.

    • rgr769 says:

      And surprise, surprise, SGT! He looks like he could be ex-Commander 0’s so-, er brother. Looks like the proggies have infiltrated the flag ranks. But, then he is a lawer.

  3. Sapper3307 says:

    Bernaths long lost uncle from Sweden?

  4. FatCircles0311 says:

    So Obama fan rail roaded a navy seal into prison. No worse enemy.

    • The Other Whitey says:

      Might not be entirely fair to declare him an Obama fan, but he was definitely willing to throw someone under the bus for PR. Asshole for sure.

  5. Devtun says:

    Gonna be karma when investigators find the admiral puts the ‘vice’ in vice admiral.

  6. David says:

    bet his name shows up on the list of flag officers against Trump and favoring trangenders in 3, 2, 1…

  7. ChipNASA says:

    Pinhead better start doing his stretching exercises.

  8. Graybeard says:

    Stripped of all benefits, confined to prison for three times the duration of the sum of all false/wrongful incarcerations, reduction in rank to E1, forced to pay restitution to each service member of twice the amount of pay and benefits lost, and then given a dishonorable discharge.

    After which other punishments may be inflicted as desired – including but not limited to keel-hauling on a diving sub.

  9. Tallywhagger says:

    Sounds like this guy is DoJ material. No doubt, Holder will set him up with a fine appointment when the Navy gets done with him.

  10. Green Thumb says:

    This is going to get dirty…..

  11. CB Senior says:

    He is not worried, he will have a nice soft landing in some “White Shoe” Law Firm that will throw money at him.
    I guess walking pass the scales of Justice for a couple of decades did not sink in.

    • rgr769 says:

      He’ll get himself a NUF sinecure with some silk stocking law firm in a major dhimmicrat city. Hell, even if he was convicted of a felony, he could become the mayor of Detroit; although, he prolly doesn’t have any gun crimes street cred like four of the eight present candidates.

  12. Mick says:

    The smug, condescending look on his face in that official Navy photo posted above says it all.

  13. MrBill says:

    “Unlawful command influence is the mortal enemy of military justice.” Ever hear that one before, Admiral? No?

    • Hondo says:

      Selective hearing, perhaps?

      • 1610desig says:

        Thanks Lorge, Crawford wasn’t your boss and you could have overturned that conviction and also made sure CNO knew Crawford was pressuring you….maybe there was other pressure from above we don’t know about…in any case, why is this all coming out in the wash now that you’re retired?

        • Poetrooper says:

          But it sounds like Crawford had the ear of the administration and Obama certainly was Lorge’s boss. And all this is coming out because Obama isn’t the CinC anymore. however, I still agree with you that Lorge was chickenshit for not standing his ground.

          Caving in certainly didn’t get him that third star, did it?

  14. Sparks says:

    Another Obama lover just doing his job.

  15. Sgt Fon says:

    he put a Seal in prison that didn’t belong there, how long till he gets a nice visit… sorry been watching “person of Interest” on netflix 🙂

    • Hondo says:

      Well, whether or not the man deserved to be in Leavenworth is debatable. He WAS convicted at court-martial of a pretty serious offense. What this . . . fine officer did was to lean on his GCMCA NOT to vacate the conviction and/or sentence.

      The ability of a GCMCA to simply say, “I don’t like that verdict, so I’m going to nullify it because I can,” has always been one of the very few things I never did understand – or much like – about the UCMJ.

      • madconductor says:

        I get what you’re saying but I’m hanging on to the report that Lorge “wanted to overturn Barry’s verdict because it lacked sufficient evidence”. So maybe he wasn’t guilty or it wasn’t really rape or something else. Lorge should have manned up, “sufficient” evidence notwithstanding. I’ve seen Leavenworth – from the outside – and can’t say it’s a pretty place.

        • Hondo says:

          The key here is that the conviction “lacked sufficient evidence” in Lorge’s opinion. In the opinion of the court-martial panel (or the judge, if the man opted for a judge-only trial), there was sufficient evidence. Otherwise he’d have been acquitted.

          If we’re gonna let GCMCAs throw out verdicts they just don’t like (or to protect their favorites), what the hell’s the point in having a court-martial system to try and punish serious crimes at all? Just bypass that and let the GCMCA be judge/jury/executioner. Not in favor of that, but it makes just about as much sense to me as letting him/her throw out convictions on a whim.

          I have no problem giving GCMCAs discretion to set-aside punishments – to a point. But I do think that at a minimum any punitive discharges imposed by a court-martial – and the fact of conviction itself – should be things that a GCMCA doesn’t have authority to set aside. An if the sentence includes multiple years confinement (which means it was a damned serious offense), IMO the GCMCA shouldn’t be able to reduce that to zero. An individual sentenced to multiple years confinement should IMO have to do at least the proverbial “year and a day” that defines a felony; the GCMCA shouldn’t IMO be allowed to reduce a longer sentence below that.

          My opinion only. Others may not share it, and probably don’t.

  16. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Prick, hope he gets sacked and loses his retirement if this is true.

  17. JR says:

    My first thought seeing that photo was “if Obama had a dick…”

    But posting that would be small petty and childish

    • Poetrooper says:

      It would…it would indeed be small, petty and childish.

      But ever so satisfying, right?

    • Poetrooper says:

      I was tempted to say, “Command influence in spades,” but that, too, would be small, petty and childish, not to mention “raaaciss!!!”

  18. Atkron says:

    Too bad something like this won’t affect his Law License…though I think it should.

  19. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    He looks like he has no heart or soul, just his own agenda.

  20. Poetrooper says:

    I wonder if our TAH JAG, Alberich, will weigh in on this? Be interesting to hear his take.

  21. Ex-PH2 says:

    Very, very interesting… What else will come out of this?

  22. SFC_K says:

    Psh, he’ll be forced to quietly retire one star less than he has now and live out his life with a cush retirement advocating for ‘victims’ of military violence.

  23. cato says:

    Social justice and affirmative action on display.
    Another political hack in the military.

  24. James Sandecker says:

    Bubba gonna like those lips and ear-grips