WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is recommending that military commanders be stripped of their ability to reverse criminal convictions of service members in response to a congressional uproar over an Air Force officer’s decision to overturn a guilty verdict in a sexual assault case.Officials say Hagel will seek legislation requiring that cases go through the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. The furor involves a decision by Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the 3rd Air Force, to overturn the sexual assault conviction against Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, a former inspector general at Aviano Air Base in Italy. Hagel ordered a review but lacks sole authority to change the law or the case’s outcome.
Officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the change, so they requested anonymity.
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