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Trump: Navy SEAL accused of war crimes being moved to 'less restrictive confinement'
President Donald Trump said Saturday morning in a tweet that Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher will be moved to "less restrictive confinement" after a group of 40 lawmakers sent a letter urging him to be freed from pre-trial confinement.
Gallagher, a 19-year SEAL accused of war crimes during the 2017 Battle of Mosul, "will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court," Trump tweeted. "Process should move soon."
Attorneys for Gallagher asked that he be released from pretrial confinement in January, which was denied. But now that the president has intervened, Phil Stackhouse, a civilian attorney for Gallagher, told Task & Purpose he believes his client will be released sometime this weekend.
As Stackhouse explained, there isn't any "less restrictive confinement" at the Miramar Brig facility where Gallagher is being held, so he will mostly likely be released to his family and placed under some restrictions, such as being required to check-in by phone and to have no contact with witnesses in the case.
"While I don't know timelines affirmatively, the confinement facility is staffed 24 hours a day and so is Eddie's command," Stackhouse said. "One would hope that when a directive has been issued by the President it would happen quickly, so our anticipation is that it will happen today or tomorrow."
A spokesman for Navy Region Southwest did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Task & Purpose.
NCIS Agent Joe Warpinski, who has been investigating Gallagher's case since April, said during Gallagher's Article 32 hearing in November that he had taken sworn testimony from nine members of Gallagher's unit, SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon. According to Warpinski, the platoon was operating in Mosul alongside the Iraqi Emergency Response Division when the alleged murder occurred.
The Iraqis called in an airstrike on a building and then subsequently captured a wounded ISIS fighter, who Warpinski approximated to be about 15 years old. After the fighter was taken prisoner — and briefly interviewed by an Iraqi journalist — he was turned over to the SEALs at their compound and medics began treating him, including Gallagher.
Gallagher briefly left as other SEALs began to help with medical treatment of the fighter, who was having trouble breathing and was apparently hit with shrapnel in the left leg. But one other SEAL medic, C.S. (witnesses were reduced to initials in the proceedings to shield them from potentially being placed on so-called "ISIS kill lists") told NCIS he believed he had just stabilized the fighter before Gallagher "walked up without saying anything at all" and started stabbing him.
C.S. told investigators it left him in "complete disbelief."
Afterward, according to the charges, Gallagher posed next to the body and took pictures, in addition to carrying out his reenlistment ceremony.
Since his arrest, Gallagher's supporters have taken to social networks and the media to make their case that he did not do what he has been accused of. So far, the government has introduced hundreds of pages of witness testimony, text messages, and photographs into evidence.
Gallagher has been in pretrial custody since Sep. 11, 2018.
Exclusive: Video shows Navy SEAL flying drone over body of ISIS fighter shortly after Eddie Gallagher allegedly stabbed him
Shortly after Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher allegedly murdered a wounded ISIS prisoner, about half a dozen of his SEAL teammates watched as one SEAL flew a drone around their compound and hovered it just inches over the dead man's body.
It was yet another ethical lapse for the men of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon, many of whom had just taken a group photograph with the deceased victim after their commander had held an impromptu reenlistment ceremony for Gallagher near the body. Although some expressed remorse in courtroom testimony over their participation in the photo, video footage from later that morning showed a number of SEALs acted with little regard for the remains of Gallagher's alleged victim.
The video — which was shown to the jury and courtroom spectators last week in the trial of Gallagher — was recently obtained by Task & Purpose.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
In his sanctions announcement, Trump accidentally named the wrong supreme leader of Iran, who has been dead since 1989
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.