Published: Wed, July 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher Acquitted of Murder

Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher Acquitted of Murder

U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher walks with wife Andrea Gallagher after being acquitted on most of the serious charges against him during his court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California, U.S., July 2, 2019.

Gallagher was found not guilty on six of the seven charges he faced related to accusations that he killed a 15-year-old militant while he was being treated for injuries in 2017, then posed for a photo with his dead body and pressured other SEALs not to report him.

A panel of jurors is made up of five Marines and two sailors, including a SEAL, many of whom had been in heavy combat in Iraq.

He was found guilty of one charge related to taking a photo with the corpse of the Islamic State fighter, which other platoon members did as well during their deployment in 2017 to Mosul, Iraq. The penalty will be discussed in court Wednesday.

Gallagher, 40, a 19-year veteran deployed eight times, did not testify.

The jury is scheduled to sentence him Wednesday in San Diego. Another text stated: "Good story behind this. Next time it happens, I'll do it somewhere where you can't see". "I got my knife skills on".

Scott said he asphyxiated the teen after Gallagher had stabbed him to save him from his Iraqi captors.

MacNeil also testified about a custom knife that Gallagher always carried or would hang on the wall of the room they shared.

MacNeil described hearing Gallagher say "he's mine" on the platoon radio after learning there was a prisoner who had been wounded in an airstrike.

"No body, no forensics, no science, no evidence, no case", Parlatore said during his closing arguments.

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She continued: "We learn and grow from them, we don't divert blame and blur the lines of reality to suit our needs. What you haven't seen is what happens behind closed doors, when he has supported and stood up for you".

Gallagher is accused of using a knife to stab the wounded militant in the neck.

However, the case turned when a key prosecution witness testified that in fact, it was he that caused the prisoner's death. Later on the stand, Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Corey Scott said he was the one who killed the teenage fighter. The attorney claimed that the "millennial" platoon members hated Gallagher and wanted him to be punished, despite his innocence.

"The government's evidence in this case comes from Chief Gallagher's words, Chief Gallagher's actions and Chief Gallagher's SEALs", Pietrzyk said.

Prosecutors argued Scott's version of events was a fabrication and that he was lying to protect Gallagher.

Asked what his message might be to future Navy SEALS, Gallagher said "loyalty is a trait that seems to be lost".

The defense rejected the allegations, dismissing the witnesses' accounts as those of disgruntled employees.

The trial followed months of turmoil in one of the Navy's most prominent war cases, including the removal of the Navy's lead prosecutor after it was discovered the prosecution had tracked the emails of the defense team to find a news leak.

The judge also ordered that Gallagher be released from custody due to violations of his Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights and reduced the maximum possible sentence of life without parole to life with the possibility of parole.

On March 30, President Donald Trump ordered Gallagher transferred to "less restrictive confinement" following complaints from his supporters. Trump also hinted at pardoning him if he was convicted.

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