Navy SEAL Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher (Photo: Navy Times)
Case against Eddie Gallagher in doubt as fellow Navy SEAL says he, not Gallagher, killed prisoner. U.S. Navy SEAL Corey Scott stated that it was he, not accused Special Warfare Chief Eddie Gallagher, who was responsible for the death of an injured Islamic State fighter in Iraq in 2017. The admission turns the controversial trial of Gallagher, 40, upside down and is likely to lead to a defense motion to acquit him.
Scott initially testified that he saw Gallagher stab the fighter in the neck, but later under cross-examination, he said he did not believe the stabbing killed him. A trained combat medic, Scott admitted he put his thumb over a breathing tube that had been inserted into the ISIS fighter’s mouth until the fighter asphyxiated. When asked directly by defense lawyer Timothy Parlatore if Gallagher killed the fighter, Scott said, “No.”
“I knew he was going to die anyway,” said Scott. “I wanted to save him from waking up to what had happened next.”
The fighter was going to be turned over to Iraqi forces, according to Scott, whom he had previously seen torture, rape, and kill prisoners. Scott said he had told Navy investigators that the fighter died of asphyxiation but was not asked to clarify, according to an NBC7 San Diego report. This testimony reportedly flustered the Navy prosecutor, who then called his own witness a liar. Scott is unlikely to be subject to prosecution, as he reportedly was granted immunity by prosecutors in exchange for his testimony.
The Navy charged Gallagher with various war crimes resulting from allegations by fellow SEALs, who described him as reckless and bloodthirsty. At the center of the case was the allegation that Gallagher had killed the injured teenager with his knife after he was brought to the platoon’s base outside Mosul.
Gallagher’s defense team has maintained his innocence, arguing Gallagher was providing aid to the fighter as a trained medic. Parlatore believes his client is the victim of an overzealous prosecution team and upset subordinates.
“[T]his is not a murder, this a mutiny, this is a group of young disgruntled sailors that didn’t like being told that they were cowards, and so they decided to conspire to take down the chief,” Parlatore told reporters prior to the trial’s start Tuesday.
Gallagher’s case received national attention after reports claimed he was under review for a pardon from President Trump. It was later revealed that the Navy prosecutors had embedded email tracking software in their correspondence with the defense team, which led to the dismissal of lead prosecutor Cmdr. Chris Czaplak and Gallagher’s release from pretrial custody. The trial is expected to last three weeks, though it is unclear what effect Thursday’s events may have going forward.
The article was written by by Russ Read on June 20, 2019 01:46 PM and was first published at the Washington Examiner.