US: Lawyer says Abu Ghraib witness lied to shift blame to defendant

Jurors began deliberations Monday at the court-martial of the only US military officer charged in the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse scandal, after the defense accused a witness of lying on the stand to deflect blame from himself. Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, 51, never appeared in the inflammatory photos of US soldiers with naked and abused detainees at Abu Ghraib, but he was the highest-ranking officer at the Iraq prison at the time and was accused of fostering the abuse. During closing arguments, Jordan's lawyer took aim at one of the government's top witnesses, saying Maj. Donald Reese falsely testified that Jordan condoned prisoner nudity as an interrogation technique. Reese commanded the 372 Military Police Company in Iraq. "Maj. Reese is not telling the truth," defense attorney Maj. Kris Poppe said, citing contradictory testimony by others. "To deflect blame is a time-honored tradition, and that's what he did."