A Marine studying to be a military lawyer is now defending himself against multiple rape charges.
In 2007, Capt. Douglas Wacker took leave from the Marine Corps to study law at the University of San Diego. While on a spring break trip with other law students to New Orleans to help Hurricane Katrina victims with legal issues, Wacker was accused of rape and sexual assault.
Prosecutors in New Orleans eventually decided to not pursue the case and expunged Wacker's record. Additionally, a hearing at USD that also looked at the allegations also cleared Wacker.
However, in 2009, the Marine Corps brought rape and sexual misconduct charges against Wacker, who on Friday faces a court-martial.
"When the trial starts you'll discover he has been telling the truth all along," said Wacker's attorney, Haytham Faraj.
Faraj, a former Marine Major now in civilian practice, said whatever happened in New Orleans was consensual at best, and the fact that the New Orleans district attorney did not press forward with the case helps his client.
"You can read whatever you want into that, but as an attorney, it speaks volumes," said Faraj.
The court-martial hearing begins Friday with the selection of members to hear the case, with opening statements to follow.
If convicted, Wacker could be sentenced to life in prison.
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