ALEXANDRIA, Va. – John Walker Lindh pleaded "please don't kill me" as U.S. troops took the captured Taliban soldier to a U.S. military camp in Afghanistan, his defense lawyers said Thursday.
A Marine accompanying the prisoner told Walker to shut up, the lawyers said in a written motion.
The defense team wants to subpoena the Marine, along with other U.S. military and civilian personnel who were in contact with the California-raised Walker in Afghanistan and aboard Navy ships.
Their aim is to find testimony and photographs that would demonstrate, at a June 17 hearing, that Walker did not kill Americans and that he was questioned while imprisoned under inhumane conditions.
The defense motion was based on information provided to the government by a Marine guard, and then turned over to the defense under a court order.
The lawyers contend Walker was bound in a metal container, sometimes naked in freezing weather, at the time he was questioned late last year. The government says Walker waived his right to remain silent and have an attorney present.
A Marine identified as USMC No. 11 "was present at Camp Rhino [in Afghanistan] at a critical time," the motion said. "He observed Mr. Lindh's conditions of incarceration and can testify as to his state of mind just prior to interrogation."
For example, the motion said, USMC No. 11 "reports that during the transport to the metal container at Camp Rhino, Lindh kept saying, 'Please don't kill me.'"
Walker was interrogated at the camp and made statements the government is likely to use at trial. Jury selection is scheduled for Aug. 26.
A government criminal complaint filed in January quoted Walker as saying he learned in June 2001, while a Taliban military trainee, that alleged terror mastermind Usama bin Laden had sent people to the United States for suicide operations.
The complaint also said Walker and four other trainees met for about five minutes with bin Laden, who thanked them for participating in his holy war.
Walker, 21, who grew up in Marin County, Calif., is charged with conspiring to murder U.S. nationals; providing support and services to foreign terrorist organizations, including the bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network; and using firearms and destructive devices during crimes of violence.
Three of the 10 charges carry maximum life sentences. The other seven have prison terms of up to 90 years.