The defense team for the U.S. Marine who went viral over his social media posts criticizing military leaders and the Afghanistan withdrawal said Thursday that their client's guilty plea showed his willingness to hold himself accountable at his court martial hearing at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
"This case began with a call for accountability by Stu Scheller," Tim Parlatore, one of Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller's attorneys, told Fox News.
Following the bombing at the Kabul airport in August, the Marine posted the first of what would be several videos of himself calling for U.S. senior officials to hold themselves accountable for the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Parlatore said by pleading guilty Thursday morning, Scheller was "standing up and taking accountability, showing the Pentagon leadership what it looks like to stand up and take responsibility for your actions."
The court accepted Scheller's guilty plea to all five misdemeanor-level charges he faced.
The defense team also emphasized the importance of understanding the emotional context behind the videos.
Parlatore told Fox News that Scheller had experienced "emotional anguish" watching the Taliban takeover Kabul, describing it as an "incredibly painful experience for Stu" and other veterans.
"He demonstrated to the world what is happening behind closed doors in countless veterans' homes across this country," Parlatore said.
Parlatore said it "remains to be seen" whether Scheller regrets his actions.
"If his actions and him losing his career and his pension lead to nothing, then. it will be something to regret," he said. "But if it leads to the message getting out and … a broader demand for accountability among these military leaders and somebody actually looks at this and holds somebody accountable … then it's worth it."
The court issued Scheller a letter of reprimand and a forfeiture of $5,000 pay for one month.