Military Photog Makes Deal in Passport Case

Military photographer who grew up in Miami admits to checking wrong box on application

A military photographer who had been charged with lying on a passport application before serving in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay reached a deal with federal prosecutors in Miami Tuesday.

Elisha Dawkins, 26, was charged with making a false statement on a U.S. passport in 2006, shortly before he served with the Army reserves in Iraq.

Under Tuesday's deal, Dawkins admitted to checking the wrong box on the application but didn't admit guilt to any crime. The charge is expected to be dropped, with Dawkins performing community service.

Prosecutors said Dawkins is a Bahamian citizen but had posed as a U.S. citizen to enlist. They say when he switched to the Navy reserves in 2008 and took photos at the Guantanamo terrorist detention center, he had secret-level clearance.

Dawkins grew up in Miami, attending Poinciana Park Elementary and Miami central Senior High School. He has garnered the support of Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who last month sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, asking for Dawkins' release.

"This is a man we should be celebrating, not deporting," Wilson said.

A "Free Elisha Dawkins" page has also been created on Facebook and has over 500 members.

Dawkins was facing a maximum 10-year sentence.

 "I think this has been a real learning experience," Dawkins said outside the courtroom. "This will make me a bigger and better person."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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