Lawyers for Marine Maj. Mark Thompson are accusing the Washington Post of doctoring a recorded interview intended to boost the military’s case he lied under oath in a sexual misconduct case.
Thompson, 47, was convicted of sexual misconduct in a 2013 court-martial, and now faces charges of making a false official statement and unbecoming conduct, after The Washington Post published evidence he lied to a Marine administrative board. WaPo found the evidence while investigating the story, after Thompson approached them saying he was innocent and asked them to write about how his case was unfairly handled.
Two women had accused Thompson of having sex with them in his home while they were students at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he taught history at the time. One accused him of rape. The combat veteran was sentenced to two months in a military prison and fined $60,000, but was not kicked out of the military, where he’s served for nearly 20 years.
WaPo confronted Thompson with text messages contradicting his statements to the Marine administrative board in the course of a 45-minute recorded interview, apparently stunning him into a two-minute silence. When asked why he lied about the last time he saw the woman, he told WaPo: “I simply had to. When they were coming after me for 41 years — I can’t begin to say, you know, how terrifying that is.”
Following his 2013 court-martial, a board of officers determining whether to kick him out of the military concluded he should not have been found guilty and left his career in tact. The new evidence published by WaPo, however, is now bolstering a renewed investigation against Thompson.
His lawyers accused WaPo of leaving out a portion of the interview at a crucial point in a preliminary hearing on the case Tuesday at Marine Corps Base Quantico, and asked the judge to order WaPo to hand over both the recording and the reporter’s notes on the interview.
“Our contention is that there are portions of the interview missing,” attorney Kevin B. McDermott said at the hearing. “If the government intends to use my client’s statements against him, we believe we should have access to it. We have every right to determine whether the recording is accurate.”
The judge said he would resolve the dispute over the recording in a later ruling, but regarding the demand for the reporter’s notes and other interviews told the attorneys, “The Washington Post is not on trial.”
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