Commander in Fitzgerald collision asserts innocence, attacks Navy’s claims
WASHINGTON — Lawyers for the former USS Fitzgerald commander in charge during the ship’s deadly collision last year are firing back against a series of Navy statements that they claim could damage his pending court-martial.
Lawyers for Cmdr. Bryce Benson on Tuesday issued a surprising one-page rebuke of statements from senior Navy leaders and other officials since last year. The statement from Lt. Cmdr. Justin Henderson and Cmdr. Ben Robertson detailed Benson’s most extensive comments to date about the incident and claimed the Navy’s harmful comments assigned guilt before his court-martial.
On Wednesday, Henderson said his client will be asserting his innocence.
“We are not pleading guilty,” he said. “There will be no agreement.”
Benson, 41, is facing charges of negligent homicide, negligent dereliction of duty and negligent hazarding of a vessel.
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