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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.
Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.
"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.
Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.
Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.
KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.
Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.
Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.
On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.
This rifle could be a dark horse candidate for the Army's next-generation squad weapon — and you can snag one next year
The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.