U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller pleaded guilty to a military judge on Thursday to six charges stemming from social media posts demanding accountability from military and civilian leaders on the botched Afghanistan withdrawal and criticizing his commanders.
The plea agreement entailed a maximum sentence of a letter of reprimand in lieu of jail time, which the judge accepted. However, there may still be actions taken against his rank and benefits.
Scheller is charged with: Article 88 (Contempt toward officials), Article 89 (Disrespect toward superior commissioned officers), Article 90 (Willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer), Article 92 (Dereliction in the performance of duties), Article 92 (Failure to obey order or regulation), and Article 133 (Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman).
The charges stemmed from Scheller posting a series of short videos and statements on social media after 13 American service members were killed in Afghanistan, including a Marine who he knew personally.
In that initial video, he demanded public accountability for the withdrawal. He was fired from his command the next day and ordered to take a mental health assessment.
In a subsequent post, he announced he was resigning his commission, just a couple of years short of the 20 years that would earn him a military pension. He also continued to criticize a string of civilian and military leaders, including former President Donald Trump, but later walked back that criticism.
After his videos on the matter continued going viral, his superiors banned him from posting on social media. After he continued posting, he was put in the brig. The Marine Corps said he was in pre-trial confinement pending an Article 32 preliminary hearing.