Supporters have raised over $2 million for the marine who was jailed for defying orders to stop publicly criticizing America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, 40, was arrested and jailed at the Camp Lejeune brig on Monday for breaking four military laws by refusing orders to stop posting videos that were critical of the military on social media.
The Marine, who has served 17 years in the military, is scheduled to make his first court appearance in North Carolina next week, DailyMail.com has learned.
The Pipe Hitter Foundation, founded by Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher – who was accused of murdering an ISIS prisoner of war i 2017 and then pardoned by Donald Trump – started the fundraiser, which has received more than 26,000 donations and raised a total of $2,081,913.
It says that the donations will go towards funding mounting legal expenses, helping Scheller’s wife and three kids financially and to aid Scheller’s transition out of the military.
Supporters have raised over $2 million for the marine who was jailed for defying orders to stop publicly criticizing the nation’s Afghanistan withdrawal
Scheller (pictured) was three years from retirement when he posted a scathing video criticizing superiors the same day that the 13 US troops were killed in Kabul
‘Stu risked everything to stand up for what he believes,’ the fundraiser said. ‘LtCol Scheller stated in his first video that he was willing to lose his job, his retirement, and his family’s stability to stand for accountability. And he did lose all three of those things.’
‘Pipe Hitter Foundation stands with LtCol Stuart Scheller and his family #StandwithStu,’ the fundraiser added. ‘Stu is exactly the type of Marine we need at this moment in time – to push back against the national security structure that has a long-demonstrated track record of inefficiencies, corruption, and failure.’
Scheller, based in North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, was three years from retirement when he posted a scathing video criticizing superiors on August 26, the same day that the 13 US troops were killed in Kabul.
‘I’m not saying we need to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, ‘Hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone’?’ Scheller Jr said in the widely-shared clip.
Scheller was removed from command of the advanced infantry training battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the day after he posted his first video ‘due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command,’ according to Maj. Jim Stenger, a spokesman for the Marines.
Rep. Louie Gohmert says his imprisonment ‘appears to be for messaging, retribution, and convenience.’ The brig is pictured
A source close to the case says Scheller is staying in an area of the brig normally for murderers
Scheller then sparked concern when, three days after his original video, he posted a 10 minute clip resigning from the military and threatening to ‘bring the whole f****** system down.’
Dressed in civilian clothing and seated in front of a chess set in what he said was ‘an abandoned school bus in eastern North Carolina’, Scheller’s tone and language worried his supervisors.
Speaking directly to his wife in the second clip, Scheller said: ‘I don’t know what decisions you’re going to make in the next 72 hours,’ without elaborating further.
He then gave out his wife’s Venmo and PayPal information.
He appeared to threaten his bosses, saying: ‘When I am done with what I’m about to do, you all are going to need the jobs and the security.’
At the end of the clip, he declares, ‘We’re just getting started.’
A military charge sheet accuses Scheller of contempt toward officials, wilfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, failure to obey order or regulation, and conduct unbecoming of an officer or a gentleman.
Scheller has been placed ‘in pre-trial confinement’ while he awaits an Article 32 preliminary hearing to determine if he broke the chain of command and is due to appear in court in North Carolina next week after his first court appearance was delayed.
Scheller is seeking to be honorably discharged, with a source close to his legal team adamant that the gravity of his alleged offenses were insufficiently severe to seek a dishonorable discharge.
Scheller has garnered support from the non-partisan Justice Warriors Caucus, an official congressional group that advocates for service members who’ve been unjustly incarcerated, who are calling for more transparency in his hearings.
Members of the public and the media are prohibited from observing the high-profile case.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller was jailed in a North Carolina brig Monday for defying orders to stop publicly criticizing US’s Afghanistan withdrawal. He has served in the Marines for 17 years
‘We believe that the military is trying to do this behind closed doors without proper oversight,’ Derrick Miller, executive director of the caucus, told Dailymail.com. ‘There’s nothing that prohibits people from being admitted to this court procedure.
‘The fact that they’re trying to do this behind closed doors should be concerning to every American.’
But a military spokesman told DailyMail.com that private proceedings are ‘standard for Initial Review Hearings.’
At least 36 congressmembers have signed a letter calling for Scheller’s release in an initiative led by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who said the Marine’s imprisonment ‘appears to be for messaging, retribution, and convenience.’
Among the signatories are Madison Cawthorn, Paul Gosar, Bill Posey, Buddy Carter, and Bob Good.
As he awaits trial he is being kept in an area normally reserved for suspected murderers, a source close to the case said.
The brig at the Camp Lejeune base brig is not a pleasant place to be, said a man who once worked there.
‘If you murdered somebody or molested a kid, you are generally going to spend most of your time in special quarters in a cell staring out of window,’ Anthony Ricciardo said in a 2018 Reddit post.
‘Lukewarm food will be brought up to you and a library cart will brought around every now and then for you to pick out a book to read.’
The pre-trial holding facility was rebuilt in 2012, replacing a 44-year-old jail with the ‘latest and greatest features,’ the Marines said in celebrating its opening.
Stuart Scheller Sr., the Marine’s dad, said he does not believe his son will be released from jail.
‘They want to keep his mouth shut,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘They are under fire from many, many people across the nation, and flocked up.’
Cathy Scheller, his mom, has questioned why he’s receiving such hash treatment despite not harming anyone.
‘He has not murdered anyone. You go through your whole list of reasons why he would be in prison, but speaking up isn’t one of them,’ she told Dailymail.com. ‘I’m going to get inflammatory here, but I’m wondering: Is he a political prisoner?
‘I don’t know. I’ve never thought of political prisoners in the United States.’