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Army 'birther' loses ruling on evidence

/ Source: NBC News and news services

An Army judge ruled Thursday that proof of President Barack Obama's eligibility to be president isn't relevant to the defense of an Army doctor accused of failing to obey a lawful order.

Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin has been charged with disobeying orders after failing to show up for duty in Afghanistan and questioning whether the president has the right to order him there.

Lakin had sought the release of school records that could include a copy of Obama's birth certificate. He as questioned whether Obama was born a U.S. citizen and therefore eligible to be president.

The judge ruled Thursday that the records and any other evidence or witnesses pertaining to Obama's birth will not be admitted. Prosecutors have argued that Obama's birth certificate shouldn't be part of the case, especially since the order for Lakin to deploy to Afghanistan didn't come directly from the president, The Associated Press reported.

The Greeley, Colo., native did not report to Fort Campbell, Ky., in April to prepare for deployment.

Lakin said in a YouTube video that he chose to disobey orders and was inviting his own court-martial. He says he wants to see Obama's birth certificate as proof Obama was born in the U.S., as presidents must be, and thus that the deployment order for Afghanistan is legal.

Hawaiian officials say they have records proving Obama was born there, but so-called birthers challenge that.

If convicted, Lakin faces up to 45 months of confinement, total forfeiture of pay and allowances, and dismissal from the Army.

In a brief statement after Thursday's hearing, Lakin's defense attorney said the ruling denied his client the ability to be defended.

The next pre-trial hearing will be Sept. 28 and the trial is set for Oct. 13-15.