Four special operators charged in the 2017 death of one of their comrades planned to tie him up and record him being sexually assaulted, according to a new bombshell report from The Washington Post.
Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell, a Raider with Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, said he was involved in a plan to bust into Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar's room with a sledgehammer, put him in a chokehold, and restrain him while a Malian security guard sexually assaulted him, according to documents obtained by the Post.
Melgar, a 34-year-old Green Beret, died June 4, 2017, in Mali. He lived there with two Navy SEALs who were later charged with his death. Maxwell and another Marine Raider, both of whom lived nearby at the time, also face charges in connection to the soldier's death.
Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews, one of Melgar's roommates, pleaded guilty to his role last month. He was sentenced to a year in military prison.
"I've carried the weight of Staff Sgt. Melgar's death every minute of every day since that night in Mali," Matthews said.
Chief Special Warfare Operator Anthony DeDolph, the other SEAL who lived with Melgar and Maxwell, allegedly put the soldier in a chokehold after the four busted into his room using a sledgehammer at about 5 a.m. They were joined by the Malian security guard and a British man who'd befriended the troops, the Post reported. They had returned from a night of drinking, and the British man planned to record the assault, which would be carried out by the security guard, Maxwell wrote in a stipulation of facts obtained by the newspaper.
Maxwell said the plot was meant to embarrass Melgar, according to the Post. He was scheduled to face a court-martial in Norfolk, Virginia, on Thursday for charges including negligent homicide. His attorney told the Post he'd plead guilty.
"It was a stupid prank. ... It went bad," Brian Bouffard, Maxwell's civilian defense attorney, told the paper. "Maxwell is eager to accept responsibility for his role in it."
DeDolph's attorney, however, disputed Maxwell's account.
"We absolutely deny that there was any intent to sexually assault Melgar," Phillip Stackhouse said, according to the Post.
The case is one of several high-profile events involving elite U.S. troops who've been accused of wrongdoing. Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, has admitted to killing an unarmed suspected Afghan bomb-maker. Navy Special Warfare Operator Chief Eddie Gallagher is accused of stabbing an unarmed, injured prisoner from the Islamic State group.
Both cases caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who is reportedly considering pardons for the two men.