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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Sentence Handed Down for Specialist Jeremy Sivits

Aired May 19, 2004 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. 8:30, busy news day here on AMERICAN MORNING. In a moment, today's hearing in the 9/11 investigation now getting under way in lower New York. Testimony about to begin with the former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He is first on the list. We will check in there when the former mayor gets ready to speak.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, in Washington D.C., some of the top commanders in charge of Iraq being questioned by a Senate committee. The list includes Generals John Abizaid, Geoffrey Miller and Ricardo Sanchez. We'll also going to bring that to you live, parts of that testimony this morning as well.

HEMMER: In the meantime, breaking news out of Baghdad. A sentence has just been handed down for specialist Jeremy Sivits. After pleading guilty, Sivits has been sentenced now to the maximum of one year in prison, reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge for his role in the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. Again, just coming down now.

Sergeant Javal Davis, Specialist Charles Graner and Staff Sergeant Ivan Fredericks put off entering pleas earlier today pending an upcoming hearing. Live to Baghdad and Harris Whitbeck who has more there now -- Harris.

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bill, as you said, Specialist Sivits has been sentenced to one year confinement. He's been demoted from specialist to private, and with that demotion, of course, there comes a reduction in his pay and allowance. He has also received a discharge for bad conduct. This is the maximum sentence allowed under the special court martial scheme that he was tried under, as we have been reporting. He was found to be guilty of charges of conspiracy to maltreat detainees, dereliction of duty for willfully failing to protect detainees from abuse, cruelty and maltreatment, and maltreatment of detainees.

The sentence was handed down several minutes after the judge heard testimony from Sivits himself, where he very emotionally he tried to describe himself as a family man, a man loyal to the U.S. and to the Army, and after he apologized to the Iraqi people and specifically to the detainees at Abu Ghraib -- Bill.

HEMMER: Harris, do you know, does he spend that prison time in Baghdad, or does he come back stateside?

WHITBECK: That is not clear at this point, Bill. That is one of the details that will have to come out, and we'll have to get back to you on that.

HEMMER: All right, Harris, thanks. Harris Whitbeck in Baghdad watching that.

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