Lawyers for the first female military training instructor named in the ongoing sexual misconduct scandal at Lackland Air Force Base argue that the charges were trumped up because commanders were worried about losing their job if they didn't come down hard on anyone accused of impropriety.
Unlike the male MTIs who were found guilty of having inappropriate sexual relationships with recruits, Staff Sgt. Emily Allen is accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with two men who had passed basic training and were under someone else's command in technical school. That's still against the military rules. Trainers are not allowed to have contact with any trainee until they have arrived at their first assignment.
Staff Sgt. Allen is also accused of having a personal social relationship with two women who were in tech school. That's a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Defense attorney Maj. Willie Babor argued that his client should have been given a letter of reprimand instead of a court marshal. The only reason she's in court, they say, is that commanders are being "bullied by the JAG (Judge Advocate General, military lawyers) Office."
"If you don't play ball," he said in court today, referring to harsh charges on any inappropriate relationship, "Then they're going to fire you, and for a senior officer, that's a serious repercussion."
Maj. Babor submitted media reports which hinted that senior leaders had been removed from their jobs because of the way the sexual misconduct scandal was handled.
They're asking for the case against Staff Sgt. Allen to be dismissed for Unlawful Command Influence. The argument has been unsuccessfully made before in similar cases.
If found guilty, Staff Sgt. Allen faces up to one year in military prison.