Originally created 03/31/04

Conduct charge stands in fraud court-martial



Testimony continued Tuesday in the court-martial of an officer the government is accusing of fraud at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.

Lt. Col. Kenneth Johnson, who is charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with larceny, obstruction of justice and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, was called to the witness stand Tuesday, said Marla Jones, a public affairs officer at the installation.

She said a lot of testimony dealt with property accountability issues, which had been the subject of a Government Accounting Office investigation into the use of government credit cards for fraudulent purchases.

Most of the items that Lt. Col. Johnson is accused of gaining fraudulently are office electronics, but they also include registration and book fees for a psychology course at Liberty University, documents show.

Ms. Jones said Lt. Col. Johnson testified that he had registered for the course, but never taken it.

She said that Col. Julie Martin, Lt. Col. Johnson's former boss, also testified at the court-martial Tuesday.

Col. Martin testified that employees underneath Lt. Col. Johnson came to her and told her that he was taking people to the side to ask them questions after Fort Gordon's Criminal Investigation Division agents asked them questions, Ms. Jones said.

The defense attempted to move for dismissal of the conduct charge and moved to find Lt. Col. Johnson innocent on certain charges of larceny because of a lack of proof. Ms. Jones said both were denied.

Col. Gary Smith, the military judge at the court-martial, told the seven-member panel of lieutenant colonels and colonels serving as the military equivalent of a jury to return at 9 a.m. today for closing arguments.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.