England's statement to be used
If convicted, the private could spend 11 years in a military prison.
FORT HOOD, Texas -- A military judge ruled Tuesday that prosecutors can use one of two statements Pfc. Lynndie England gave to Army investigators when they first questioned her in January 2004 about the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison.
The decision was a setback for England, who appeared in some of the most notorious photos of the prison scandal.
Defense lawyers argued that she did not understand the consequences of waiving her rights against self-incrimination when she agreed to speak to investigators.
Tuesday's ruling was part of a preliminary hearing before opening statements in the court-martial case today.
England, 22, who served in Iraq with the 372nd Military Police Company, faces up to 11 years in a military prison if convicted of the two counts of conspiracy, four counts of maltreatment of subordinates and one count of indecent acts with which she is charged.
Mistrial in May
She tried unsuccessfully in May to plead guilty to the same charges. But the judge interrupted the sentencing phase and declared a mistrial after the former Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr., the convicted ringleader of the prison abuse and the father of England's nearly 1-year-old son, testified that she had been following his orders when she posed with naked and hooded prisoners.
Wearing her Army green dress uniform, the petite soldier sat quietly and without expression during Tuesday's half-day pretrial hearing, answering only "Yes sir" or "No sir" to questions from the judge.
In making his ruling Tuesday, the military judge, Col. James L. Pohl, reversed an earlier decision that neither of England's two statements could be presented as evidence at her trial.