FORT MEADE — An Army doctor who disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he questions President Barack Obama’s citizenship pleaded guilty Tuesday to one of two charges against him.
Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin of Greeley, Colo., pleaded guilty in a military court to a charge that included not meeting with a superior when ordered to do so and not reporting to duty at Fort Campbell.
Lakin faces up to 18 months in prison and dismissal from the Army. He pleaded not guilty to a second charge of missing a flight he was required to be on, and the court-martial proceeding continued on that count.
In videos posted on YouTube, Lakin had aligned himself with so-called “birthers” who question whether Obama is a natural-born citizen as the U.S. Constitution requires for presidents. The veteran of 18 years in the Army disobeyed orders to report earlier this year to Fort Campbell in Kentucky to prepare for deployment, saying he believed the orders were illegal.
Lakin said in the videos that any reasonable person looking at available evidence would have questions about Obama’s eligibility to be president and that he had “no choice” but to disobey orders. He said he would “gladly deploy” if Obama’s original birth certificate were released and proved authentic.
Officials in Hawaii say they have seen and verified Obama’s original 1961 birth certificate, which is on record with that state. But birthers have not been satisfied with that assurance or the “Certification of Live Birth” Obama has released, a digital document that is a record of a person’s birth in the state but that does not list the name of the hospital where his mother gave birth or the physician who delivered him.
Hawaii law has long barred the release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest.
In September, a military judge ruled the president’s birth certificate is irrelevant in Lakin’s case. His lawyer will therefore not be able to raise the issue as a defense for why Lakin, a flight surgeon, did not report for what would have been a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.