Pvt. Danny Chen’s relatives could testify

Family lawyer Rick Meadow said he fully expects the Army to call Chen’s parents and possibly a cousin as witnesses, but added, “The family still maintains the position that the best place for these court martials is in the United States … where the proceedings can be as transparent as possible.”

besides, Afghanistan “is not a safe place” — and the Army admitted as much during a briefing, Meadow said.

“The pressure not only of testifying but of being in an Army base near a hostile enemy is not ideal for the family,” he said. “They’ve been through enough."

The decision on where the trials are held ultimately rests with Maj. Gen. Jim Huggins, who has already scheduled the first trial — of Sgt. Travis Carden — for next month in Afghanistan.

Chen, a 19-year-old from the lower East Side, shot himself in October in a guard tower after months of mockery about his Chinese ancestry.

his family and Chinese-American activists accused the Army of dragging its feet and their outrage grew after involuntary manslaughter charges against five of the soldiers were dropped.

they were especially angry that the count was dropped against one of the alleged ringleaders, Spc. Ryan Offutt, who had been accused of rape before he enlisted in 2006.

All the soldiers still face serious charges that could land them behind bars.

The other accused soldiers are Staff Sgt. Andrew VanBockel, Sgt. Jeffrey Hurst, Sgt. Adam Holcomb, Spc. Thomas Curtis, First Lt. Daniel Schwartz and Staff Sgt. Blaine Dugas.

csiemaszko@nydailynews.com

Pvt. Danny Chen’s relatives could testify


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