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US accuses Marine once jailed in Iran of treason

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Five years after being freed from Evin Prison through the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati is being accused of treason by the Department of Justice. Hekmati's lawyer disputes the allegations and gives background on the case. (March 16)

Video Transcript

SCOTT GILBERT: Once Amir left his position in Afghanistan, before he came back to the States to start his new life, he decided to visit his grandmother and fulfill her and his family's wishes. He spent several weeks there entirely with the family. And at the conclusion of his trip, he was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard. Basically, upon returning from 4 and 1/2 years of hell in the most notorious prison in Iran--

- How bad was it in there?

AMIR HEKMATI: Well, it wasn't good.

SCOTT GILBERT: Amir Hekmati has been accused by the Department of Justice and Special Master Feinberg of treason, of going to Iran to attempt to sell information to the Iranian government. This assertion is based on a couple of 302 reports by the FBI agents who interviewed Amir the height of his PTSD without a lawyer present. If the government believes they have a case, bring it on. Indict Amir. Try Amir.

But, you, the US government won't do that because you can't do that. You don't have sufficient factual evidence to do that. And so what have you done instead?

You first have tried to obfuscate and hide both from my inquiries and those from members of Congress. Dealing with you is worse than dealing with the DMV in that regard. And then when finally that string has run out and I tell you, look, you've left us no choice but to sue you. Instead of sitting down and discussing it, trying to resolve this constructively, you send a letter saying that you are going to reconsider Amir's eligibility, which by statute, you are not allowed to do.

A fundamental precept of our system of justice, if the government believes you did something wrong, you have the right to confront those who accuse you. You can't prove a negative. And that is exactly what the government's been doing here. Again, it is beyond belief.

At every turn our mouths would just fall open. At our firm we do a lot of public service work. We've seen a lot of egregious situations over the years. But never something like this with the Department of Justice in the middle of it.