Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher found not guilty of murder in war crimes case
Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher was found not guilty of murder and attempted murder in a military court Tuesday following a trial centering around the killing of an ISIS militant, according to multiple reports.
Gallagher, 40, was accused of stabbing to death an injured teenage ISIS fighter and shooting at civilians in Iraq during a 2017 deployment. The verdict, which comes one day after closing arguments, was reached by five Marines and two sailors.
While he was found not guilty on the most serious charges, Gallagher was found guilty on the single charge of posing with the corpse of the ISIS fighter, according to multiple reports.
A witness testifying during the trial last month roiled the case when he admitted that he killed the teenage militant, one of the crimes Gallagher was on trial for in California.
However, seven Navy SEALs testified during the trial that Gallagher had abruptly stabbed the fighter after treating him for injuries sustained in an airstrike.
The jury was tasked with determining if the fighter died from the stab wounds or from injuries already sustained. Many of the Navy SEALs who testified were granted immunity to appear before the court.
An Iraqi general told the court that Gallagher did not stab the teenager and Marine Staff Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo said he did not see any stab wounds on the fighter, according to NBC News.
In closing arguments, the prosecution presented pictures of Gallagher holding the teen’s head by his hair texts from Gallagher saying, “I’ve got a cool story for you when I get back. I’ve got my knife skills on.” and “Good story behind this. Got him with my hunting knife.”
“The government’s evidence in this case is Chief Gallagher’s words, Chief Gallagher’s pictures, Chief Gallagher’s SEALs,” Navy Cmdr. Jeff Pietrzyk, one of the prosecutors, said.
The Defense team said there was no body or evidence to be used against Gallagher and dismissed the texts as dark humor in combat.
Gallagher was released from custody in May after the judge in the case said prosecutors obstructed his right to counsel.
Reports surfaced prior to Tuesday’s ruling that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators press Pompeo on Boeing satellite sales to China Trump touts low black unemployment, criminal justice reform on anniversary of Civil Rights Act Trump says Mueller ‘must’ stick to report’s findings during testimony MORE was considering a pardon for him.
—Updated at 6:05 p.m.
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