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Major Brown loses bid to change judges at rape trial

Date Posted: 2003-10-11

The Naha District Court has rejected a demand filed by a U.S. Marine Corps major on trial for attempted rape that the three judges handling his case be replaced. Major Michael Brown has been on trial for an alleged attempted rape of a woman who has since recanted, and claims she did not want to file criminal charges against the defendant. Brown was indicted and jailed in Dec. 2002, and has been on bail since May. The alleged incident took place last November in Gushikawa.

Prosecutors allege that Brown tried to rape the woman in her car. Brown has admitted being with the woman in the car, but he has denied trying to rape her. He says they had an argument that ended with him breaking the woman’s cell phone. He has compensated the woman for the damage.

Presiding Judge Nobuyuki Yokota earlier decided to proceed with the trial, and accepted as evidence the woman's statement to police in which she strongly indicated a desire to see the major punished.

Brown had sought the removal of all three judges, saying the trial would proceed unfairly under the current circumstances. After Brown’s demand for new judges was turned down his defense attorney said he would discuss with his client whether to appeal the decision.

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