On April 15, 2022, Lt. Col. Krause filed a motion in the open Hague Abduction Convention matter that he initiated, requesting that he, and his other witnesses, be permitted to appear remotely in the trial on May 25, 2022. Mrs. Krause strongly opposes such remote testimony, proffering that the testimony of Petitioner is central to the case.
FRCP Rule 43(a) requires testimony in open court, but permits, in compelling circumstances, and with appropriate safeguards, testimony by contemporaneous transmission from a different location. Lt. Col. Krause argued several reasons that he feels present compelling circumstances to permit remote testimony: the cost of international travel ($800-$1600), the length of time for the travel (14+ hours), the Lt. Col.’s military duties particularly in terms of his support of ongoing work related to the Ukraine war, and his ulcerative colitis. Mrs. Krause proffers that the “gravamen” of her case relates to Lt. Col. Krause’s “sincerity, honesty, and integrity.” She claims that 2 days before his motion, Lt. Col. Krause appeared virtually in a California Superior Court custody case and requested to travel with his children from June 15-July 1 to Disneyworld. She argued that she would agree to move the May 25, 2022 Hague Abduction trial date to a date between June 15 and July 1 if Lt. Col. Krause would so stipulate. She argues that there is a direct flight from Ramstein AFB to Baltimore 3x each week for $25.
Mrs. Krause agreed that third-party witnesses may appear for the May 25, 2022 hearing, so long as they are located outside of the United States and meet the Court’s requirements for appearing by video. Lt. Col.’s Krause’s parents are in California, and it is unclear, from the record, where his other potential witnesses may be located.
Ultimately the court was unpersuaded by Lt. Col. Krause’s request, particularly in that he planned on a trip to Disneyworld a few weeks after the scheduled Hague Abduction hearing. Even though he had not yet secured permission for leave to travel to Disney, he felt confident enough he would receive leave that he made a representation to a California family court and the children. Further, Lt. Col. Krause did not present evidence of his income and expenses, but was apparently financially capable of paying for a family trip, to include his children and parents, to Disney. Further, credibility assessments will be of the utmost importance, and outweigh Lt. Col. Krause’s arguments.
In a footnote, the court notes, “if Command denies Petitioner’s leave request, the Court will continue the hearing date until Petitioner is permitted to appear (presumably this is a date between June-July). Respondent indicated at the hearing on the motion that she will stipulate to such a continuance as well.” In a separate footnote, the court also permits Lt. Col. Krause to renew his motion for his parents, who live in Southern California, to appear remotely by providing more information as to why they are not able to travel to attend in person.