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Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher found not guilty of murder
The jury in the military trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher has found him not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder during a deployment to Iraq in 2017.
He was, however, found guilty of unlawfully posing for a picture with a human casualty.
The verdict was reached after about a day of deliberation. The government and defense attorneys both made closing arguments in the case on Monday, after presenting testimony from numerous witnesses over two weeks.
Gallagher, 40, was charged with premeditated murder over an alleged stabbing of a wounded ISIS fighter in Mosul, and attempted premeditated murder over alleged unlawful sniper shots taken at an old man and a young girl. He was also charged with wrongfully posing for an unofficial photo with a human casualty.
The charge of unlawfully posing for a photo — which was shown throughout the court martial — carries a maximum penalty of four months' confinement, though Gallagher is likely to get credit for the eight months he served in the brig prior to his trial, Navy spokesman Brian O'Rourke told Task & Purpose.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors painted Gallagher as a man, proud of his kill, who sent a "trophy photo" of the murdered detainee to friends, while the defense argued that the government and NCIS agents had a "target fixation" on Gallagher that led them to not ask important questions or consider alternatives.
Navy Cmdr. Jeff Pietrzyk, the lead prosecutor, acknowledged that a wounded ISIS fighter wouldn't get much sympathy from the jury or anyone else. "I'm not going to argue to you that this was a particularly sympathetic victim," he said. Before he was hit by a U.S. air strike, Pietrzyk said, "he would've done anything in his power to kill Americans."
But, Pietrzyk said, he was no longer fighting, and receiving medical care. "At that point, he was no longer a lawful target," he said. "We're not ISIS. When we capture someone they're out of the fight. That's it."
In laying out the government's case, Pietrzyk mentioned other SEALs had testified that Gallagher had fired on innocent civilians from a sniper tower. He went on to say that Gallagher had tried to obstruct justice and retaliate against those who reported on him by threatening that he "had shit on all of them."
Defense attorney Tim Parlatore, however, asserted that "this case is not about a murder. It's about a mutiny." He said it was only a few "young entitled" members of the SEAL platoon who hated Gallagher that reported him for war crimes. Parlatore said those SEALs had taken part in a mutiny and conspired in a text message "sewing circle" to get back at him for stealing items from them and putting them at unnecessary risk on the battlefield.
"When the chief pushed them, they didn't like it," Parlatore said.
Gallagher is expected to be sentenced later on Tuesday, O'Rourke said.
Retired Col. Charles McGee stepped out of the small commercial jet and flashed a smile.
Then a thumbs-up.
McGee had returned on a round-trip flight Friday morning from Dover Air Force Base, where he served as co-pilot on one of two flights done especially for his birthday.
By the way he disembarked from the plane, it was hard to tell that McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, was turning 100.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.
On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.
A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.
Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.
"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."