An Army doctor who refused deployment to Afghanistan because he questioned whether President Obama was born in the United States pleaded guilty today for failing to obey orders but pleaded not guilty to the count of missing a flight he needed to be on.
Lt. Col. Terry Lakin is among the so-called "birthers," who continue to question whether Obama was born in the United States and thereby eligible for the presidency. They argue that they have yet to see Obama's original, signed birth certificate, even though the president released a copy during his campaign.
Lakin was set to deploy from Fort Campbell, Ky., in April, for his second tour of duty, but he never showed up.
In a YouTube video, the Colorado native admitted that he invited his own court martial because he won't obey what he believes are "illegal orders" from a president who hasn't presented proof that he is a natural born U.S. citizen.
"I will disobey my orders to deploy because I believe all servicemen and servicewomen and the American people deserve the truth about President Obama's constitutional eligibility to the office of the presidency and the commander in chief," Lakin said. "If he is ineligible, then my order, and indeed all orders are illegal, because all orders have the origin with the commander in chief as handed down through the chain of command."
Lakin faces up to 18 months in prison and dishonorable discharge.
"The minimal invasion to any politician's privacy from having to show an original signed birth certificate is far less than the harms to our country caused by someone not qualified whose election would thus subvert the law and the truth," he said.
Lakin's lawyer Neil Puckett said recently that the 18-year Army veteran intentionally disobeyed orders because he hoped his case would force the president to produce his original birth certificate. He said that Lakin is "very disappointed in the system."
Obama was born in Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961.
In June 2008, Obama's campaign released a scanned copy of his birth certificate, but that wasn't enough to appease the birthers. Some called the document a fake.
The state of Hawaii doesn't allow the release of official birth certificates "to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record." But state officials have said they have documents proving that the president was born in Hawaii, and the Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin each published announcements of Obama's birth in 1961.
In August, the Supreme Court upheld a $20,000 fine against Orly Taitz, a California dentist and lawyer who leads the birther movement. Taitz sued on behalf of Army Capt. Connie Rhodes, who refused a deployment similar to Lakin's because of his doubts about Obama's country of birth.
But the slate of evidence and court decisions has failed to convince birthers, who said the president needs to release his official, signed birth certificate, not a scanned copy.
Republican lawmakers have continued to add fuel to the fire over the years.
Earlier this year, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., became the latest to challenge Obama's birthplace, saying at a campaign event that he supported "conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court."
In April, Arizona lawmakers introduced a proposal that would force candidates to produce birth certificates to appear on the ballot in 2012, a clear rebuke to Obama's citizenship claim.
Sarah Palin, a Tea Party darling and potential 2012 presidential contender, said on a conservative radio talk show late last year that the public was "rightfully still making it an issue."