A military judge Wednesday threw out Pfc. Lynndie England’s guilty plea to prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, saying that he was not convinced that she knew that her actions were wrong at the time.
Col. James Pohl entered a plea of not guilty for England to a charge of conspiring with Pvt. Charles Graner Jr. to maltreat detainees at the Baghdad-area prison.
The action came after Graner testified at England’s sentencing hearing that pictures he took of England holding a naked prisoner on a leash at Abu Ghraib were meant to be used as a legitimate training aid for other guards.
When England pleaded guilty Monday, she told the judge she knew that the pictures were being taken purely for the amusement of the guards.
Pohl said the two statements could not be reconciled.
“You can’t have a one-person conspiracy,” the judge said before he declared a mistrial and dismissed the jury.
Under military law, a judge can formally accept her guilty plea only if she knew at the time that what she was doing was illegal.
Graner claimed the incident in which a leash was put on a detainee was a legitimate technique for moving threatening prisoners, reports CBS News Correspondent Barry Bagnato. At the hearing the judge then warned England she can’t plead guilty if she believes she’s not.