Lawyers Collide in Naval Academy Sex Case

Defense attorneys on Friday accused an outspoken lawyer of using a Naval Academy sexual assault case to further her own crusade against how the military handles the problem.

Susan Burke is the lawyer who has been counseling the midshipman. She testified that she believed the academy should have done more to investigate sexual assault allegations against three Navy football players.

The comments were made at a military hearing to determine whether the three former players facing sexual assault accusations will face a court-martial.

Ronald Herrington is representing one of the accused. He suggested Burke already has considered her next step after what he described as a meritless case falls apart.

"There is no merit to the allegations against anyone in this room,'' Herrington said.

Burke vehemently denied Herrington's suggestion. Under questioning by Andrew Weinstein, another defense attorney, Burke declined advising her client what to say in media interviews in recent months.

"She doesn't need advice,'' Burke said.

Burke, who noted she had represented more than 200 victims of sexual assault, said she believed the current military process for dealing with such cases was "abysmal.''

"I strongly believe reform is needed,'' Burke said.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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