Judge Frees Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher over prosecutorial misdeeds

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Eddie Gallagher accused of murder in the death of an Islamic State prisoner and two civilian Islamists was freed by a judge Thursday who cited interference by the prosecutors.

His wife cried and the courtroom gasped. He is one of the men under consideration for a pardon by President Trump. Trump previously got Gallagher removed from the brig and transferred to better custody conditions at a Navy hospital.

Lawyers for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher presented evidence to get the case dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct.

The judge has not ruled yet on whether to throw out the case or remove prosecutors for launching an unusual effort to track emails sent to defense lawyers and a journalist to find the source of news leaks in the politically charged case. That hearing continues Friday.

Judge, Capt. Aaron Rugh, also said Gallagher’s 6th Amendment rights have been violated and prosecutors interfered with his right to counsel.

Defense attorney Tim Parlatore had accused prosecutors of a “rogue, relentless, and unlawful cyber campaign” and prosecutors hired a Navy intelligence expert to do a criminal background check on the civilian lawyers.

Gallagher, a highly decorated Navy SEAL has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of an injured teenage militant in Iraq in 2017 and not guilty to attempted murder for allegedly picking off civilians from a sniper’s perch. He had his picture taken near one of the dead.

But the central question in Gallagher’s case is whether he and other SEALs rendered first aid to the wounded Islamic State fighter or if they executed him.

Gallagher served for twenty years and eight combat tours. He suffers from multiple head injuries.

VIA THE NAVY TIMES

Because the military judge has sealed most evidence in the case and has placed a gag order on all parties, Stackhouse said he can’t address specific allegations or delve into most details of the NCIS probe.

“But what we’ve learned in our independent investigation into these allegations is that a crime simply didn’t happen,” he said.

Stackhouse traces the beginning of the NCIS investigation to April, while Gallagher was preparing to retire from the Navy and leave California for Florida.

Stackhouse traces the beginning of the NCIS investigation to April, while Gallagher was preparing to retire from the Navy and leave California for Florida.

He’s asked military prosecutors for a copy of the June search warrant, obtained through a federal magistrate in San Diego, that allowed NCIS agents to search Gallagher’s residence in military housing in Point Loma, but they haven’t provided it yet.

“They held Chief Gallagher at NCIS, while they knew his wife was at work,” Stackhouse said. “NCIS laid siege to the house in the morning hours ― weapons drawn — and inexplicably traumatized Chief Gallagher’s young sons by pulling them out of the house at gunpoint in their underwear.”

Stackhouse said the NCIS probe culminated on Sept. 11, when agents arrested Gallagher at Camp Pendleton’s Intrepid Spirit Center.

Opened on April 4, the base facility aids service members recovering from traumatic brain injury. Stackhouse said that Gallagher suffers from multiple head injuries incurred during his combat duty overseas.

Gallagher, 39, grew up in Indiana and first enlisted in the Navy in 1999. He first served as a corpsman attached to the Marines; 14 years ago, he became a SEAL. He was promoted to chief in 2015.

He has been awarded two Bronze stars with V device, Meritorious Unit commendation, Presidential Unit citation two Navy Commendation medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals- one with V device, and four good conduct awards.

We don’t know the details of the event but many soldiers languish in U.S. military prisons undeservedly for years.


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