Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher Found Not Guilty of Killing ISIS Fighter
A military jury has found Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher not guilty on almost all counts, including the killing of a wounded ISIS fighter. He was only found guilty on one count related to taking a photo of the ISIS fighter’s corpse, which carries a maximum sentence of four months, sources told Breitbart News.
As Gallagher has served nine months in pre-trial confinement, it is likely he will not serve any time in jail at all, sources said.
There were five enlisted Marines and two sailors on the jury, including one Navy SEAL.
The verdict was publicly announced by former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who served on Gallagher’s defense team as an adviser:
BREAKING NEWS! Verdict in the trial of US NAVY SOC Cheif Eddie Gallagher: Not Guilty of Murdering the ISIS. Terrorist.— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) July 2, 2019
Gallagher was accused by a small group of junior SEALs he led during a deployment to Mosul, Iraq, in 2017 of stabbing a wounded 17-year-old ISIS fighter.
The verdict marks a victory for those who championed Gallagher’s innocence, including President Trump, who had called for Gallagher to be moved to less restrictive confinement so that he could better fight for his freedom:
In honor of his past service to our Country, Navy Seal #EddieGallagher will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court. Process should move quickly! @foxandfriends @RepRalphNorman— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2019
After a report by the New York Times said that Trump was considering pardoning Gallagher, the president’s critics began attacking Gallagher, calling him a “war criminal.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted, “This is grotesque.”
This is grotesque. https://t.co/CvFf9rPO2H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 20, 2019
The accusations that Gallagher stabbed and killed a wounded ISIS fighter stemmed from a small group of junior SEALs he led on a deployment to Mosul, Iraq, in February 2017.
During that deployment, the SEALs called in a Hellfire missile strike on a compound where all but one ISIS fighter were killed. Iraqi forces captured the surviving but wounded ISIS fighter to be interrogated. They then brought in the fighter to Gallagher’s platoon, where Gallagher and other Navy SEAL medics treated him, but he did not survive.
However, after the platoon returned home in the fall of 2017, the small group of three to four SEALs began complaining about Gallagher to commanders, arguing he had put their lives at risk.
After their complaints went nowhere, they escalated their claims to war crimes, accusing Gallagher of killing the wounded ISIS fighter and shooting at innocent civilians.
Gallagher’s wife Andrea Gallagher and brother Sean Gallagher told Breitbart News in extensive interviews that those accusations stemmed from animosity towards Gallagher, who had reprimanded them for poor performance during the deployment.
On the contrary, Gallagher was nominated for a Silver Star award, a coveting training assignment, and a promotion. The junior SEALs were trying to derail all of that, his family and defense team argued.
After the junior SEALs escalated their claims to war crimes, Navy Criminal Investigative Service got involved, leading the Navy to charge Gallagher with seven counts, including for killing the ISIS fighter.
Their case hit troubles even before it hit trial about three weeks ago. The judge in the case removed the Navy prosecution’s lead prosecutor, after it was discovered that he had sent software that would allow them to spy on the defense and a journalist’s communications without a warrant.
Shortly after the trial began, a Navy SEAL medic — one of the prosecution’s own witnesses — testified that Gallagher did not kill the ISIS fighter, and that he had killed him instead.
The medic, Special Operator 1 Corey Scott, testified that he put his thumb over the ISIS fighter’s breathing tube, and suffocated him to death to spare him later torture by Iraqi forces.