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Army officer convicted in first Covid-19 court martial, but judge declines to punish him

1st Lt. Mark Bradshaw, a former public health company commander, was convicted of violating health measures required for unvaccinated troops, officials said.

An Army officer and former health official was convicted last week of flouting Covid-19 rules in the first-known court martial of its type, officials said.

The officer, 1st Lt. Mark Bradshaw, who had served as an Army Public Health Center headquarter's company commander at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, was convicted in military court April 29 of refusing an order to telework and reporting to his office without submitting to a Covid-19 test or otherwise furnishing a negative test result, according to the Army Times.

Image: 1st Lt. Mark Bashaw at his command relinquishment ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., on on July 9, 2021.
1st Lt. Mark Bashaw at his command relinquishment ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., on on July 9, 2021.Graham Snodgrass / Army Public Health Center

Those health measures were required for unvaccinated troops.However, a judge who oversaw the case declined to levy any punishment against Bradshaw. But the conviction gives Bashaw a criminal record that may affect his future employment, according to the newspaper that serves the Army community.

“After a careful consideration of the evidence, a military judge exercised lawful authority not to adjudge punishment for 1st Lt. Mark Bashaw,” Amburr Reese, an installation spokesperson, told the Army Times. “Receiving no punishment at a court-martial is not without precedent.

Reese added, “While the Army does not categorize court-martial convictions as felonies or misdemeanors, many civilian jurisdictions treat a conviction in special court-martial convened by military judge alone, which this one was, as a misdemeanor,”

No one with the Army at the Aberdeen installation responded to NBC News' requests for comment.

Col. Yevgeny Vindman, the top lawyer for Army Communications-Electronics Command, which oversees Aberdeen Proving Ground, said in a statement on the day of Bradshaw’s conviction, the case was the first where a high-ranking officer was found guilty of disobeying orders around coronavirus’ restrictions.

 “Proud of the prosecution team at Aberdeen Proving Ground,” Vindman tweeted. “Secured a first in the nation conviction at court-martial of a lieutenant who failed to obey lawful orders re COVID mitigation measures. Guilty on all 3 counts. #orderanddiscipline”

Bradshaw was not reached for comment Friday. A lawyer listed as representing him, in court records pertaining to Bradshaw's case, was also not reached.