Support our mission

A military judge on Wednesday disqualified one of two military counsels prosecuting an upcoming court-martial in which a soldier is charged with premeditated attempted murder.

Judge (Lt. Col.) Timothy Grammel ruled that Capt. Michael Watts, a Stuttgart, Germany-based trial counsel, inadvertently violated lawyer-client privilege by interviewing an expert consultant who is a member of Sgt. Stevie M. Huff’s defense team.

Huff’s attorney, David Court, had asked that the entire prosecution team be disqualified from participating in the trial. The case’s other prosecutor is Capt. Kevin McCarthy of Kaiserslautern.

Huff’s court-martial will begin as scheduled on Monday at Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, according to Maj. Peter Kageleiry, chief of military justice for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

Wednesday’s two-hour hearing was held at Mannheim Law Center.

According to Kageleiry, Watts had interviewed the consultant believing him to be a witness, only to learn during the interview that the person was a non-testifying member of the defense team. This violated confidentiality rules between Huff and his defense team.

Watts then notified the judge and Huff’s attorney of the interview, prompting Wednesday’s hearing.

Huff, a mechanic with the Stuttgart-based 554th Military Police Company, is accused of striking his former girlfriend, Angelika Gruber, three times on the head with a flashlight on May 26 in her apartment in Hauptstuhl, near Landstuhl.

According to prosecutors, Huff then took the woman’s keys and cell phone, locked her inside her apartment and fled. Neighbors called police after hearing Gruber’s screams for help. Police kicked in Gruber’s door to find the bloodied woman.

Huff was arrested two days later when he tried to enter a U.S. installation in Heidelberg.


Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up