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Marine Facing Trial a Decade After Vanishing From Iraq Post

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Image: HASSOUN
Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun makes a statement to the press outside Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, Va., Monday July 19, 2004.STEVE HELBER / AP file

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A Marine who vanished from his post in Iraq a decade ago and later wound up in Lebanon has decided to have his case heard by a military judge instead of a jury.

Court recessed Monday afternoon and prospective jurors were sent home in the case of Cpl. Wassef Hassoun, who faces charges of desertion, larceny and destruction of government property.

Opening statements were expected to begin Tuesday before the judge at Camp LeJeune.

The judge considered several motions earlier Monday.

Hassoun's defense attorney also formally conceded that Hassoun's trip to Lebanon in early 2005 was an unauthorized absence. Attorney Haytham Faraj says that concession will simplify the proceedings. Faraj maintains that it wasn't desertion because his client later became tied up in the Lebanese legal system.

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Image: HASSOUN
Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun makes a statement to the press outside Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, Va., Monday July 19, 2004.STEVE HELBER / AP file

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