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Marine forced to forfeit $5K following conviction for videos criticizing US withdrawal from Afghanistan

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(CNN) — A Marine who was found guilty after posting a series of videos on social media criticizing top military leaders’ handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan received a sentence of one month forfeiture of $5,000 in pay and a direction to receive a letter of reprimand from a military judge on Friday.

Marine Corps Judge Col. Glen Hines said he was considering giving Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller two months of docked pay but decided to limit it to one month because Scheller spent nine days in pre-trial confinement, known as the brig, at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The judge handed down the sentence from a military courtroom at Camp Lejeune.

On Thursday, Hines found Scheller guilty after he entered guilty pleas to all five charges he faced — including “contempt towards officials,” “disrespect toward superior commissioned officers” and “failure to obey order or regulation” — after videos of Scheller criticizing military leaders about their handling of the withdrawal went viral.

Scheller appeared relaxed in the military courtroom on Friday morning. He was chatting with his attorneys and his parents, sitting on a bench behind him, and drinking coffee out of a disposable cup before court started.

The military judge said he watched all of the videos Scheller posted on social media last night after the first day of the special court martial. The judge said the videos showed someone who was “in pain” and possibly “confused.”

The judge also commented that Scheller had an almost perfect record as a Marine up until the past month in terms of conduct.

Scheller has yet to receive his characterization of discharge. As a part of the plea deal, he will likely receive either an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions. The characterization of discharge will be decided by the secretary of the Navy, the military judge said in court on Thursday.

If the secretary of the Navy decides to give Scheller a discharge below general under honorable conditions, Scheller will then want the characterization of discharge to be forwarded to a board of inquiry, which is made up of Marines who are superior to Scheller. Scheller said he would only ask for a board of inquiry if the secretary of the Navy gives Scheller a discharge outside of the two listed in the plea deal.

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