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Judge orders immunity for Perrysburg SEAL defense witnesses

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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. speaks on behalf of accused Navy SEAL Matthew McCabe, right, to renew calls for exoneration of the 3 Navy SEALs charged in the alleged mistreatment of an Iraqi believed to be linked to the 2004 killings of four U.S. contractors.

Gerald Herbert / AP Enlarge

NORFOLK, Va. — A military judge has ordered immunity for several defense witnesses in the case against a Navy SEAL accused of mistreating an Iraqi detainee.

Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas of Blue Island, Ill., is accused of dereliction of duty, impeding an investigation and lying about another SEAL's alleged abuse of suspected terrorist Ahmed Hashim Abed. Huertas is one of three SEALs facing court-martial.

At a hearing Friday, Cmdr. Tierney Carlos ordered the military official who brought the charges to grant immunity by March 24 to SEALs expected to dispute a sailor's claim that he saw Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe of Perrysburg, Ohio, punch Abed.

The accused SEALs have received an outpouring of public support, and some members of Congress want the charges dropped.

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