A U.S. Marine who criticized President Barack Obama on a Facebook page was recommended for dismissal by a military board.
Sgt. Gary Stein faced the Marine Corps administrative board at a day-long hearing Thursday. The board said Stein admitted misconduct and should be dismissed, according to the Associated Press.
The board recommended that Stein be given an "other than honorable" discharge, meaning Stein would not be allowed on a military base and would lose his benefits.
Stein’s lawyers argued that his comments were protected under the First Amendment, despite the Pentagon’s policies banning service members from criticizing senior officials such as the president. He is being supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as several federal congressman.
The prosecutor argued Stein repeatedly violated policy and ignored warnings from his superiors over his Facebook posts. The board was told that, for instance, Stein superimposed Obama’s face on a Jackass movie poster.
Prosecutor Capt. John Torresala said Stein’s comments on a Facebook page could have influenced other Marines.
The Marine Corps board's recommendations will be assessed by a general. If the general disagrees with the recommendations, the case may reach the secretary of the Navy.
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