Lt. Col. Stu Scheller, the Marine officer who posted a viral video demanding accountability from military leaders for the failures in Afghanistan, is now in the brig, Marine officials confirmed Tuesday.
Scheller is "currently in pre-trial confinement" while he awaits an Article 32 preliminary hearing, Marine Corps spokesman Sam Stephenson said in a statement.
"The time, date, and location of the proceedings have not been determined," he added.
Marine Corps officials said there are no specific charges "preferred" or initiated against Scheller. Instead, the hearing is to consider whether charges of contempt toward officials, willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, failure to obey lawful general orders, or conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman should be recommended to his commander for action.
The service did not provide details to Military.com of any orders that Scheller may have failed to follow, or officers he may have disobeyed.
Although an Article 32 hearing is often compared to a grand jury in the civilian legal system, legal experts note that the analogy is not entirely apt. Defendants at these hearings have legal counsel present, who are able to preview and challenge the evidence against their clients.
Scheller has had a brief but tumultuous time in the public eye since his first video went up on social media on Aug. 26, 2021. After being relieved of command, he posted a second, puzzling video three days later that featured cryptic threats to "bring the whole f---ing system down" and a public resignation of his commission.
The second video prompted concerns over his well-being. After it was posted, the Marine Corps announced in a statement that it had taken steps to "ensure the safety and well-being of Lt. Col. Scheller and his family."
Scheller wrote on Facebook that, when he came to work following the second video, he "was ordered by my commanding officer to go to the Hospital for a mental health screening."
"I was evaluated by the mental health specialists and then sent on my way," he added in the post.
Since then, the Marine officer has continued to post videos, status updates and other musings on social media. According to Scheller, he made those posts despite the advice of friends, family and lawyers. In Sept. 16 posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, he wrote that he would make a public recommendation of charges of dereliction of duty against Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command.
A long post made Sept. 25 ended with the line, "Col Emmel please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I'm ready for jail." Scheller's last post to date was made on Facebook the next day.
Public criticism of the military can cost officers their careers. In May, a Space Force commander was fired from his post for comments made during a podcast promoting his new book, in which he claims Marxist ideologies are becoming prevalent in the U.S. military. More recently, Lt. Col. Doug Hague publicly declared he was resigning from the Army over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.