UPDATE: Historic Court-Martial of Air Force 2-Star Will Not Have a Jury

Webp.net-resizeimage (24)

US Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley speaks at the US Air Force Research Laboratory inside Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Nov. 28, 2019. US Air Force photo by Keith Lewis.

Update, 10 a.m., April 18: In the opening hours of the general court-martial of US Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley, the presiding military judge announced that the trial will not have a jury, but instead will be decided entirely by the presiding judge. Cooley’s defense team requested the move. A full jury trial — the Air Force’s first court-martial of a general officer in decades — would have required a jury made up of only senior generals for the entirety of the trial, which authorities say could last up to two weeks.

Original story: DAYTON, Ohio — Jury selection for the general court-martial trial of US Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley is slated to begin Monday morning here at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Cooley is the first flag officer in the US Air Force’s 74-year history to face a trial by court-martial. Prosecutors have charged him with abusive sexual contact under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He currently serves as a special assistant to US Air Force Materiel Command here.

Because of Cooley’s lofty rank, his panel of eight peers will be composed of current three-star generals or two-star generals with an earlier date-of-rank than Cooley. The Air Force only has 32 lieutenant generals. It was unclear how many two-stars would be eligible by date-of-rank.

jury selection

US Air Force Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, Air Force Research Laboratory commander, delivers remarks during a press conference inside the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 18, 2019. US Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth.

It stems from an Aug. 12, 2018, off-duty incident in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when prosecutors say Cooley kissed and touched a female victim without her consent.

His trial originally was scheduled to kick off on Jan. 10, 2022, nearly two years after he was removed from command in the wake of the allegations.


Editor’s note: This story has been amended to note that, along with three-star generals, two-star generals would have been eligible to serve on Cooley’s jury if their date-of-rank as a lieutenant general was earlier than Cooley’s.

Read Next: Air Force Offers Bonuses up to $50K for New Recruits, $420K To Keep Pilots

Noelle is an award-winning journalist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who came to Coffee or Die Magazine following a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has strived to be a military journalist ever since her internships with the US Army Cadet Command in college. She worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military herself and served as a public affairs specialist attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. She deployed once to fill a role as a media analyst for the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait. She has a passion for sharing stories of heroes and people who are far more interesting than they think they are. She follows where the job takes her, but currently resides on the East Coast in Georgia.
More from Coffee or Die Magazine
With the US and India deepening their military ties, the Himalayan mountain chain marks another geopolitical flashpoint with China.
With its iconic folding wings and six machine guns, the Corsair proved exceptionally lethal in World War II and beyond.
Letter bombs mailed to the US Embassy in Madrid and Spanish government offices triggered elevated security at Naval Station Rota.
The Air Force will officially reveal the replacement for the B-2 stealth bomber on Friday, Dec. 2.
When he was released, after 28 months as a prisoner, he thought he would face charges. Instead, he was told he’d won the highest award for valor.
A Connecticut man faces up to 20 years behind bars for trying to join Islamic State group terrorists.
The annual matchup was first played in 1890 and has since become something much bigger — and more important — than just a football game.
A blaze erupted on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, injuring nine sailors before it was extinguished.
The encounter highlighted a trend of increasingly aggressive Chinese military behavior in the region.
Marines and sailors see the landing assault ships Tripoli and America as light carriers.