DROP NINE OF TWENTY-TWO COUNTS AGAINST
CORRUPT AIR FORCE JAG COLONEL - WILL TOP
BRASS GIVE MICHAEL T. MURPHY A "SLAP ON
THE WRIST" AND EASE HIM OUT BACK DOOR?
MURPHY MAY "CUT DEAL" AND PLEAD GUILTY
AVOIDING TRIAL - BUT EVEN IF CASE GOES TO
COURT-MARTIAL, WELL-CONNECTED COLONEL
LIKELY TO AVOID JAIL TIME - PROBABLY WILL
END UP WITH FINE AND REDUCTION IN GRADE
For 23 years, Air Force Col. Michael D. Murphy practiced law without a license. In fact, he was disbarred as an attorney by two states - Texas and Louisiana - in the early 1980's. But all the time the clever Murphy was climbing the JAG ladder of success, apparently the brass above him had no idea he was a fraud.
The senior officer was well-connected, having served at the White House and in Iraq. At the time he was relieved of command last November, Murphy was top dog at the Air Force Legal Operations Agency at Bolling AFB in Washington, D.C.
Murphy's troubles highlight the double-standard in the Air Force regarding JAG officers getting away with crimes that others would be severely punished for. A case in point is that of former Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Fiscus, chief JAG officer of the USAF, who admitted affairs with more than a dozen women. Despite his high position of authority and the shame he brought to his office, the two-star avoided a court-martial and escaped justice with a rank reduction and small fine. His pension, albeit a smaller one, is intact.
MURPHY MAY PLEAD "GUILTY" TO AVOID COURT-MARTIAL
Sources tell us a similar deal may be in the works for Murphy. While Maj. Gen. Franc Gorenc, commander of Air Force District Washington, the convening authority in the case, has recommended court-martial, Murphy has the option of pleading guilty and avoiding the media glare of an open trial. That is something you can be sure the Air Force desires as well.
So, an agreement may be hammered out before the end of the year whereby Murphy will retire in disgrace, at a lower grade, pay a fine, and slip into obscurity. If he had been a general, protected by the unwritten rule that no flag officer ever goes to jail no matter what he does, Murphy might have taken his chances at court-martial. But the colonel, while having many friends in high places, doesn't swing the weight that the powerful Fiscus was able to.
For now, the charges against Murphy include nine counts of conduct unbecoming an officer; three counts of "larceny" greater than $500; and a single count of "failure to obey a lawful general regulation." That is a considerably lighter load than the original 22 counts he faced, which if convicted, could have put him in the slammer for more than half a century.
WHAT ABOUT USAF PERSONNEL SENT TO LEAVENWORTH
ON MURPHY'S WATCH?
Of special concern to MilitaryCorruption.com and the thousands of Air Force personnel who read us every day, is how many "blue suiters" were sent to Leavenworth under Murphy's watch? While unqualified to serve as a JAG officer at any rank, did he help put people in prison or end their military career? If so, we think those cases should be reopened and the Air Force made to pay for such a terrible injustice.
Fiscus is primarily a hypocrite and womanizer who thought he could operate under a different set of rules than the people he persecuted. But those he helped get promotions, including one particularly arrogant and obnoxious female field-grade officer in Germany, were not punished at all. They got to keep their ill-gotten rank and privileges. In some ways, what Murphy did was worse than his old boss, as he knew in his heart he was a faker, yet still held high office in the JAG, which boasts a court-martial conviction rate of 98%, just two percent short of mainland China.
What we'd like to know is why Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has a "hands-off" policy when it comes to Air Force wrongdoing? The outrageous Maj. Jill Metzger cover-up, followed by the PTSD "payoff" pension scandal has sickened and demoralized most of the rank-and-file who mistakenly looked to the new secretary for leadership and honor. So far, Gates - while nowhere near as nasty and dictatorial as neo-CON Donald Rumsfeld - is sadly AWOL when it comes to cleaning up corruption in the United States Air Force.
[EDITORS NOTE: A suggestion to our readers of all military branches, active, retired, and members of the Guard and Reserve. Please print out this article, circle the paragraph right above and send it to your U.S. Senator. Ask the lawmakers to inquire of Gates why he started out with such promise but soon became "part of the problem instead of solution." Thank you.]