9-26-05 - Army Pfc. Lynndie England, whose smiling poses in photos of detainee abuse at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison made her the face of the scandal, was convicted Monday by a military jury on six of seven counts.
England, 22, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, four counts of maltreating detainees and one count of committing an indecent act. She was acquitted on a second conspiracy count.
The jury of five male Army officers took about two hours to reach its verdict. Her case now moves into the sentencing phase, which will be determined by the same jury beginning Tuesday. She faces a maximum 10 years in prison.
England, wearing her dark green dress uniform, stood at attention as the verdict was read by the jury foreman. She showed no obvious emotion afterward.
Asked for comment after the verdict, defense lawyer Capt. Jonathan Crisp said, "The only reaction I can say is, 'I understand.'"
England's trial is the last for a group of nine Army reservists charged with mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, a scandal that badly damaged the United States' image in the Muslim world despite quick condemnation of the abuse by President Bush.
Two other troops were convicted in trials, and the remaining six made plea deals. Several of those soldiers testified at England's trial.
Prosecutors used graphic photos of England to support their contention that she was a key figure in the abuse conspiracy. One photo shows England holding a naked detainee on a leash. In others, she smiles and points to prisoners in humiliating poses.
The conspiracy acquittal came on a count pertaining to the leash incident, while she was found guilty of a maltreatment count stemming from the same incident.
They also pointed to her statement to Army investigators in January 2004 that the mistreatment was done to amuse the U.S. guards at Abu Ghraib.
"The accused knew what she was doing," said Capt. Chris Graveline, the lead prosecutor. "She was laughing and joking. ... She is enjoying, she is participating, all for her own sick humor."
Crisp countered that England was only trying to please her soldier boyfriend, then-Cpl. Charles Graner Jr., labeled the abuse ringleader by prosecutors.
"She was a follower, she was an individual who was smitten with Graner," Crisp said. "She just did whatever he wanted her to do."
England, from Fort Ashby, W.Va., has said that Graner, now serving a 10-year sentence, fathered her young son.
The defense argued that England suffered from depression and that she has an overly compliant personality, making her a heedless participant in the abuse.
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