POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 17, 2010
An Army doctor who disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he questioned President Barack Obama's eligibility to be commander in chief was sentenced by a jury yesterday to six months in a military prison and dismissal from the Army.
The military jury spent five hours deliberating punishment for Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin after three days of court martial proceedings at Fort Meade.
Lakin was convicted of disobeying orders -- he had pleaded guilty to that count -- and missing a flight that would have gotten him to his eventual deployment. An Army commander, Maj. Gen. Karl Horst, still has to approve the jury's sentence. Upon approval of the sentence, Lakin will be granted an automatic appeal that would be considered by the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. He was to begin serving his sentence immediately.
In online videos posted on YouTube, Lakin aligned himself with the "birther" movement that questions whether Obama is a natural-born citizen, as the Constitution requires for presidents, and said he was inviting his own court martial.
But Lakin said Wednesday that despite his questions about Obama's eligibility for office, he was wrong not to follow Army orders.
Officials in Hawaii say they have seen and verified Obama's original 1961 birth certificate.