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December 14, 2010

Army Lt. Col., 'birther,' on trial for refusing to deploy

Sun colleague Childs Walker reports:

Terrence Lakin is one of the fervent band of Americans who doubt that President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

The catch is that Lakin is an Army lieutenant colonel who refused to report for deployment to Afghanistan because he questions Obama’s credentials to serve as commander in chief.

Lakin, a flight surgeon, pleaded guilty before a military court at Fort Meade on Tuesday to a charge that included not meeting with a superior when ordered to do so and not reporting to duty at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. The 18-year veteran faces up to 18 months in prison and dismissal from the Army.

Lakin pleaded not guilty to a second charge of missing a flight he was required to be on, and the court-martial proceeding continued on that count. If convicted of all the charges against him, the Colorado native could face more than three and a half years in prison.

In videos posted on YouTube, Lakin said he had “no choice” but to disobey orders. Lakin said he would deploy if Obama's original birth certificate were released and proved authentic.

Lakin’s stance, made public when he refused to report in April, has made him a hero to the “birther” movement. Birthers say Obama, the first African-American president, was not born in Honolulu in August 1961, and so fails to meet the constitutional requirement that the president be a “natural born citizen.”

Hawaii officials say they have verified Obama's original 1961 birth certificate, and both of Honolulu’s major newspapers published news of his birth.

Obama has released a digital certification of live birth confirming his birth in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961. Hawaii officials will not release a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a “tangible interest.”

The birther movement surfaced during Obama’s 2008 campaign for president, and adherents have continued to raise questions about his eligibility to serve. A CNN poll this summer found that 27 percent of Americans doubt or deny that Obama is American-born. Recently, Orioles outfielder Luke Scott made headlines by questioning Obama’s place of birth.

In September, a military judge ruled the president's birth certificate is irrelevant to Lakin's case. That means his civilian lawyer, Neal Puckett, will be unable to use questions about Obama’s birth certificate as part of Lakin’s defense.

A Fort Meade spokeswoman said the Maryland base was chosen as the trial site for logistical reasons, not because of any connection to Lakin.

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 6:04 PM | | Comments (6)
        

Comments

It is not a "birther" movement. To be correct it should be called the "lack of vetting" movement. The photograph of a COLB produced by Obama to factcheck.org or moveon.org does not contain relevant information to confirm or deny if Obama is qualified for the office. Obama and his family have claimed that he was born in a hospital in Hawaii. The hospital and the Department of Health hold the original records that would confirm or deny if Obama was born at that hospital. The reason this is important is that at the time of Obama's birth, since changed in Hawaii in 1972, a person such as Obama's grandmother could walk in off the street and sign a form and get a birth certificate for little Obama. It would not matter where he was born. For that reason those types of birth certificates require additional proof to show the location of birth.

So the question remains, does the birth certificate being held by the State of Hawaii confirm his birth at the hospital, or is it one of the forms that was issued to residents on their word? Much depends on that and it is the real issue citizens have asked to see the original.

I'm a veteran, and there's just one word for this guy: moron.

If convicted, I think Mr. Lakin should be shipped off to North Korea.

Pete, please do the world a favor by not breeding. Thank you.

Hey Pete,

Have we ever asked the same of another President...oh I forgot, the previous presidents weren't Black. Pete, you, like the coward in the story, are a birfer and a word that starts with r, ends with t and has acis in the middle.

The Republican governor of Hawaii has confirmed the validity of our president's birth certificate.

It got harder and harder to watch my husband deploy every other year under Bush but he still went even though he knew there were no WMD's. This guy should put on his big girl panties, suck it up and drive on. He's your boss, your Commander in Chief. I don't like your pansy officer behind Lt. Col Larkin, but I still pay taxes to pay you to be stupid! I hope the lady at the commissary drops your paper bags right in a puddle.

Hey Lakin,
as one LTC to another and one physician to another...and...more importantly as an Iraq Vet...hear this: You are not dumb enough to believe your little charade. So you are either a COWARD or hoping for a book deal. Either way, I hope they get you out of uniform soon and keep you home as our fine men in women serving in harms way deserve better than the likes of you! You discredit both professions!

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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