“He is likely to lose everything and accomplish nothing,” one attorney lamented. “No military judge will say that (obtaining documents) of the president is necessary to prove the charges,” said Philip D. Cave, a Washington attorney and director of the National Institute of Military Justice.
Cave said that the validity of Lakin's orders, under military law, does not depend on the president but on the chain of command. “He will be convicted and is in jeopardy of dismissal,” he said.
Dismissal, for a military officer, is the same as a dishonorable discharge for an enlisted servicemember.
“We all feel saddened,” said David Price, a former captain and 25-year veteran of the Navy Judge Advocate General’s office, now in private practice.
“He was issued an order to deploy and didn’t. End of issue,” he said. He said the military has dealt with these types of cases since Vietnam, when soldiers tried to make larger political issues the basis of their trials, and is experienced at keeping the proceedings free of politics.
Price also said that if the case does finally get to a general court-martial and a judge is asked to approve discovery requests by the defense, it is unlikely that it would be allowed to encompass the presidency. He said this wasn’t because of a conspiracy, but because the case is relatively simple and doesn’t require it.
Gary Myers, a former military lawyer who now heads a Washington firm specializing in military law, says he "just shook my head" when he heard about the case “I think [Lakin] is out of his mind” for thinking he could challenge the president this way, he said.