Judge Denies Bond For Man Charged With Illegally Wearing Army Medals

By: Kent Faulk -- The Birmingham News
By: Kent Faulk -- The Birmingham News

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A federal judge Monday denied bond for a Hunts­ville man facing misdemea­nor charges that he illegally wore an Army combat uni­form and military medals.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Ott denied bond for Christopher Bernard Gra­ham at the end of a nearly two-hour hearing at the Hugo L. Black U.S. Court­house in Birmingham.

Kevin Butler, the public defender for the Northern District of Alabama, said that while they respect the judge's decision, they do not believe Graham was a flight risk or danger to the community. He said his of­fice looks toward vigor­ously defending Graham in court, but declined to dis­cuss the specifics of the charges.

Graham, 43, was charged in May with two counts of wearing an Army combat uniform and eight counts of wearing medals or badges he didn't earn, ac­cording to court records that were only recently un­sealed for public view. He was arrested Aug. 14 on the charges.

The medals or badges were the Combat Infantry Badge, the U.S. Army Ranger Tab, the U.S. Army Senior Parachutist Qualification badge, and the U.S. Army Air Assault Qualification badge, according to court records.

Jonathan Sumner, special agent with the FBI in Huntsville, testified at Monday's hearing that the FBI began an investigation in April 2011 after getting a call from a security officer at Huntsville Hospital. The hospital security official told the FBI that a man claiming to be a major at Redstone Arsenal wanted to make a complaint that a hospital employee was stealing controlled narcotics and distributing them to soldiers under his command.

The woman turned out to be a former girlfriend of Graham and the accusation was not true, Sumner said. And there was no such person who was a major at Redstone Arsenal, he said.

The woman told the FBI that she had met Graham at a gym and that he had offered to be her personal trainer, Sumner said. Graham also claimed to be a major in the U.S. Army and the woman provided the FBI with photos of him wearing a uniform, he said.

Sumner testified that he found other incidents in which Graham dated other women and claimed to be a military officer.

Graham had been in the Army at one time, Sumner testified. He said according to the military, Graham was released from service in 1993 for "other than honorable discharge in lieu of court marshal" with a notation of desertion.

Sumner said that Graham had admitted to him that he had not earned the medals. Graham also had not been an officer, he said.

Graham's fiancee, a Decatur police officer, had offered to be a third party custodian in the case to watch Graham while he's out on bond. But the judge declined to release Graham on bond after she testified.

Ott, who said he rarely detains people for misdemeanors, told the public defenders that he would consider the possibility of another person as a custodian in the case.


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