[JURIST] US military prosecutors have dropped charges of making false official statements and obstructing justice against US Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan [CBS profile; JURIST news archive] just hours before jury selection was set to begin in his court-martial. Jordan is the only commissioned officer charged in connection with the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal [JURIST news archive], and now faces charges [press release, DOC] of wilfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, failure to obey an order or regulation, and cruelty and maltreatment. If convicted on the remaining charges, Jordan could face over eight years in jail.
Prosecutors dropped the two charges after new evidence came to light that Jordan provided statements to an official investigating the Iraqi prison abuse allegations without being properly read his rights, making his statements inadmissible. In his 2004 report [PDF text; JURIST report], Maj. Gen. George R. Fay recommended that Jordan and Col. Thomas Pappas [official profile], Jordan's superior, be punished for their roles in the abuse scandal. Pappas was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony against Jordan. Pappas testified during Jordan's Article 32 hearing [JURIST report] that Jordan was concerned that he did not have the proper training or experience to assume his role running the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center [backgrounder] at Abu Ghraib. The Washington Post has more.