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Judge: Prosecutors Can Remain on Bales Case

AP Photo/DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock

A military judge says a team of Army prosecutors can remain on the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for his sentencing next week, even after they read documents they weren't supposed to.

Bales pleaded guilty to killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids last year.

His lawyers asked the judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, on Tuesday to dismiss the prosecutors. Defense attorney John Henry Browne told The Associated Press that Nance sent a brief email Wednesday denying their motion.

Last month, the judge accidentally sent the prosecutors compelled statements Bales made to Army psychiatrists—and they read it, even though Bales' lawyers said they should have known better.

The statements were protected by Bales' Fifth Amendment rights and can't be used against him.

Bales faces life in prison with the possibility of parole, or without it.