A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Rep. John Murtha cannot be sued for accusing U.S. Marines of murdering Iraqi civilians “in cold blood,” remarks that sparked outrage among conservative commentators.
The appeals court in Washington dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by a Marine who led the squad in the attack. The judges agreed with Murtha that he was immune from the lawsuit because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the comments to reporters.
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich of Meriden, Conn., claimed Murtha damaged his reputation by saying the squad he was leading engaged in “cold-blooded murder and war crimes” in Haditha, Iraq, on Nov. 19, 2005.
At a Capitol Hill news conference in May 2006, Murtha predicted that a Pentagon war crimes investigation would show the Marines killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians in Haditha.
Wuterich’s attorney Mark S. Zaid said that despite the appeals court ruling, Murtha should apologize for his statements.
“It is disappointing that the court has placed members of Congress on a special pedestal and granted them carte blanche immunity to defame anyone they choose as part of their official responsibilities without even allowing a victim to expose the actual facts that are known only to the perpetrator,” Zaid said.
And the courageous Americans who volunteered to defend this nation and its principles are on the butt end of this court’s ruling.
Of course, the “racists” in Johnstown, PA (Murtha’s words, not mine) re-elected him.Â So they deserve their traitorous Congressman.Â But the rest of us don’t.