The Case Against Finn

Following his violent escape from the First Order Star Destroyer Finalizer, FN-2187 (or “Finn,” as he is called by the Resistance terrorists) was tried by court-martial in absentia for a litany of alleged crimes under the First Order Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The following is an excerpt from the transcript of closing arguments dealing with FN-2187’s alleged desertion in First Order General Court-Martial TC-3263827, FIRST ORDER v. FN-2187.

MILITARY JUDGE: Prosecution, do you wish to present a closing argument?

PROSECUTOR: Yes, your Honor.

MILITARY JUDGE: You may proceed.


A cowardly betrayal. Rather than stand and do his duty, FN-2187 was a coward who ran, betraying the First Order and all it stands for.

Cowardice and betrayal are the two cornerstones of this case. Over the course of this trial you have heard ample evidence of each. The empty chair at the defense table should be a powerful image that stays with each of you throughout your deliberations. That chair has been empty throughout this trial because FN-2187 remains a fugitive…a fugitive who is unwilling to face the consequences for his actions to this very day. The weight of the evidence before you demands but one conclusion: FN-2187 is guilty of desertion beyond any shadow of a doubt.

FN-2187’s motive for betraying the First Order was a simple one: pure, unadulterated cowardice. You heard testimony from several of the stormtroopers that accompanied FN-2187 to the surface of Jakku, including FN-3181. Not one of those troopers saw FN-2187 fire a single shot from his blaster, even as the enemies in Tuanul Village put up fierce resistance. Captain Phasma, one of our finest soldiers, also testified that FN-2187 failed to obey her direct command to open fire on the last pocket of aggressors. She confronted him shortly after their return to the Finalizer and found the trooper with his helmet off against regulation, appearing frightened. FN-2187’s cowardly display on Jakku was a prime motive for him to flee, as was his fear of being held accountable for his failures by Captain Phasma.

The defense has offered you FN-2187’s training records and touted the fact that he showed no prior signs of non-conformity before Jakku. Those are irrelevant distractions. Captain Phasma explained that despite the rigors of her trooper training program, one cannot fully predict how a soldier will react when faced with real combat. FN-2187’s own actions on the field of battle prove that was a coward, afraid of performing his basic duties as a servant of the First Order.

No sooner had FN-2187 returned from his first combat mission than he cast off any remaining loyalty to the First Order by collaborating and planning an escape with a known Resistance operative. Prosecution Exhibit 15, the holorecordings from Finalizer security cams, definitively shows FN-2187 helping free Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, who was captured during the battle on Jakku. Captain Phasma unequivocally confirmed that FN-2187 had no authority to leave the Finalizer following the Jakku mission. Nevertheless, FN-2187’s plan was to act on his cowardice by escaping the Finalizer and deserting the First Order.

Despite the defense’s contention, FN-2187 was not under any duress at the time. No one forced FN-2187 to leave the star destroyer. Instead, his actions were a series of conscious decisions meant to accomplish his goal of desertion. Watch those holorecordings carefully and you will see that FN-2187 remains in control the entire time as he and Poe Dameron enter Hanger Bay 2. FN-2187 guides Poe Dameron by the arm through the ship and into the hangar bay. He keeps hold of his blaster rifle the entire time and is in no apparent danger.

Even though he had full access to the comms and emergency alert system in his helmet, FN-2187 made no effort to raise the alarm or call for help. Given his training in hand-to-hand combat, he could have easily engaged and defeated the Resistance scum if he had truly been in distress. Instead, FN-2187 snuck into a TIE fighter with the prisoner, intent on completing his escape plan. Most damning of all, FN-2187 opened fire on First Order troops from the TIE fighter to complete his escape. The defense sought to pin that death and destruction on Poe Dameron, but watch the recordings carefully—it was the TIE’s rear-facing cannons that wrought most of the damage. Since FN-2187 occupied the TIE’s co-pilot seat, he would have been in control of those guns.

Collectively, that is all clear evidence that FN-2187 fled the First Order of his own volition. But to be guilty of desertion, there must also be evidence that he intended to remain permanently away from the First Order. Fortunately, you have a figurative mountain of evidence before you to prove that element of the crime. You heard from two of the stormtroopers sent to Jakku to capture FN-2187 after he crash-landed. They recovered his stormtrooper armor, which FN-2187 cast off to conceal his true identity.

Not only did he ditch his armor, but those same troopers also testified that they spotted FN-2187 wearing a brown leather jacket as a disguise over his black body suit in Niima Outpost. And what did FN-2187 do when he saw First Order troops? He didn’t call out for help or raise the alarm. No, he ran once again, this time joining with an unknown female before blasting his way off planet, killing two brave First Order pilots in the process.

FN-2187’s violent and desperate escapes from the Finalizer and Jakku would ordinarily be evidence enough of his intent to permanently desert the First Order. However, you have also seen evidence that FN-2187 further betrayed the First Order by joining the Resistance. Numerous stormtroopers testified that FN-2187 was fighting alongside Resistance forces on Takodana. FN-2187 can clearly be seen fighting against our soldiers in the gun tape from TIE fighters that were providing close air support for First Order troops, which is contained in Prosecution Exhibit 34.

Motivated by cowardice, FN-2187 fled the First Order and has been doing everything within his power to remain away. He betrayed his unit, his leaders, and his friends. He betrayed each of us. Therefore, the evidence before you makes it crystal clear that FN-2187 committed desertion by leaving the First Order with the intent to remain away permanently.

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Thomas Harper
Thomas is a Captain in the US Army serving as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer. During his time in the JAG Corps, he has served in a variety of positions, including as an Operational Law attorney advising on the law of war and rules of engagement in Afghanistan. After completing 7 years on active duty, he now serves in the Army Reserves as a military defense counsel, representing accused soldiers at courts-martial and other proceedings. While he loves all things geek, he is a massive Star Wars fan, collector, and the reigning back-to-back Dragon Con Star Wars Super Fan trivia champion. His frequently favorable comments regarding the Empire and Dark Side are his own and do not reflect those of the DoD and Army. Follow his ramblings about the galaxy far far away on Twitter at @thomasLharper.