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Military attorney on sailors charged with F-35C crash video leak

Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 20:18:00-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The possible punishment for five sailors charged with leaking video of a fighter jet crashing on the USS Carl Vinson could vary from demotion and loss of pay to a criminal trial.

"It really depends on how the Navy perceives the impact of that video," said attorney Dan Conway, who specializes in military law.

The crash happened in January while the San Diego-based ship was operating in the South China Sea.

The Navy said five sailors been charged with disobeying a direct order under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

"We've seen over the last few years the release of tragic video being taken very seriously," Conway said.

Conway said a sailor could also be fired for an unauthorized release.

In 2020, the Navy fired the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after a leaked letter he wrote regarding the COVID-19 outbreak onboard.

"It's very necessary for the military to maintain good order and discipline," Conway said.

In the USS Carl Vinson case, the attorney said the sailors' rankings and their roles in the offenses might also play a factor in the severity of the ramifications.

"The fact that they didn't have anything to do with the mishap and their only conduct relates to the release of the video, this might be dealt with at a little bit lower level," Conway said.

The Navy is working to recover the wreckage from the crash, which sunk in the South China Sea. The investigation into the F-35 fighter jet crash is ongoing.