Innocence – 62

Written by: Dana Coen; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

The JAG vs. Chaplain Corps baseball game was interrupted by the SECNAVs phone call sending Harm (H), Mac (M) and Bud (B) to Japan for an investigation. A Japanese citizen, Ichiro Higashimori, charged a Surface Warfare Officer aboard the Reprisal with raping his daughter Jun. The commander of Naval Forces Japan, Admiral Arthur Fissenden (Fis), was immediately in Hs face and H responded by “suggesting” political pressure “may not help.” Fissenden said H had been selected to lead this investigation because of how he juggled politics of the “Siggonella helicopter tragedy” so “quit whining and start juggling.”

Bud pointed out that Fis had been “shunted sideways” from staff at CINCPAC because of “loose lips” and H judged “one more misstep and his career would suffer.” Prosecuting attorney Takahashi (Tak), out of courtesy, described the evidence against Ensign Terry Guitry (Gtry) – which was basically a hat. Harm said they wouldn’t turn him over to the Japanese unless convicted – Tak agreed then complained to the prime minister that H was blocking access. Fissenden then “reamed” H that the ambassador had turned Guitry over to the Japanese. Guitry was assigned Hiro Kitamura (Kit) as defense attorney. He had graduated from Yale but was a personal injury lawyer which H found unacceptable until he was convinced by his knowledge of the case, his “fire in the belly” and because he was the only one who would take a “loosing” case.

The father hated Americans due to his Nagasaki, radiation induced, birth defect which had prevented him working all his life. Fissenden had M and H attend a formal political gathering, reluctantly, where they found Fis running off at the mouth to a reporter with a tape recorder. He said the military got daily allegations of rape from hookers. Harm opinioned that Fis “could make the constitution sound offensive.” Kitamura said that the defense would NOT be allowed to question the girl – to prevent more trauma and that Gtry had been forced to sit in a chair without moving for 36 hours. Kitamura didn’t ask about the hat in court so H blurted out that it could have belonged to dozens of “sailors.” After being shut up, Kit said “you haven’t figured it out that it isn’t Gtry on trial but the US government and you’ve just gave them a gift.” Harm whispered to M that he “figured it was worth the break in protocol,” what did she think? She just kicked him.

Takahashi had an unexpected restaurant videotape showing Gtry and Jun together before the “rape,” which angered Kit for being lied to. Kitamura said the case now was unwinnable and quit, having lost face and credibility. They found him in a garden and M apologized in fluent Japanese. Harm sweet-talked him back on the case by offering to work for him and track down the real rapist. Kitamura told them that Tak had offered to reduce the sentence for a confession, repentance, and public apology. Harm was against it but M for it. Guitry held to his innocence.

They went to Fis for advice. He told them of meeting Marion Truesdale, 1st marine JAG, and asking him “when’s the best time to give it up?” He had said: “You’ll know, or They’ll know.” Then, in a completely resigned manner, he said that he’d been asked to retire. “I’ve been crossing lines in my career but have always known where they were,” he said. “This time I tripped over the damned thing.” He said that his late wife had whispered to him: “don’t drink, don’t swear, and try to keep your mouth shut.” Without her, he said, he’d lost his will to control it and was going to “move on.” He said as his last official act he would advise them to “protect that boy’s innocence, because once that it taken from him he’s just one more sorry SOB.”

After they left, he put on his hat and we saw his purple heart commendation, wife’s photo and heard a gunshot. Chegwidden came to Japan because Washington was “nervous” over the suicide which was being blamed on the case. Chegwidden opined he was an “officer, dishonored, stripped of purpose” and M said that it was a very Japanese “act of seppuku- a warrior, in uniform, with his own weapon.”

Harm asked C if he was there to supervise and was told that “Washington just wanted assurances” and suggested they start working to discredit the fathers “eye witness.” Harm, who disagreed and wanted to “find the real perp,” challenged back about “you don’t trust us.” Chegwidden said it “wasn’t about trust, about responsibility, and I’m taking it!” H demanded “why,” and C retorted in his face “because I can!” He then paused and told them to do what they wanted. He called H back and said that “I’ve always allowed responsible disagreement. But you ever badger me like that again and I’ll supervise your ass right out of Washington.”

They reexamined the video tape and found a Seaman Lafferty in the restaurant with the same cap. Lafferty told them that he had gone to the “hostess house” next door. The “Madame” remembered Lafferty as a good customer who had yelled at her because he had requested Jun but she had gone to another man – Gtry. Guitry still held to his story of mistaken identity and refused to talk further. Harm found Jun, told her that he saw turmoil in her eyes and convinced her to testify. She said that she was actually a “hostess” for the “Madame” in order to help support the family but had fallen in love with her former “client,” Gtry. She didn’t tell her father because he hated Americans so much, but it wasn’t rape. Guitry then said that he knew he would loose Jun because of this but thought that he would be exonerated because evidence was all circumstantial and wanted to prevent her shame. Chegwidden landed on him for having “the entire Navy spinning on your lies” and asked “now that you have trashed your future, what have you got to show for it?” Kit quoted an obscure Haiku poem that H translated: “love is Eternal.”

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