Testimony reveals Navy SEAL Team 6 member blasted judge in Gallagher trial and threatened to burn down courtroom

news

Navy SEALs in Mosul

(Photo: CNN/screenshot)

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — Testimony in the military trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher earlier this week revealed that an active-duty member of SEAL Team 6 had disparaged the judge overseeing the trial and said many of his colleagues in the elite unit did not care about killing civilians.


While under cross examination on Wednesday morning, former Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Dylan Dille was questioned at length about a private WhatsApp group chat he and his fellow SEALs used to pass along information within their unit as well as news about the Gallagher case.

In the thread named "The Sewing Circle," the SEALs — who were apparently concerned with war crimes allegedly committed by Gallagher — tried to distinguish themselves as their own "Brotherhood" in contrast to what supporters of Gallagher have called the "Real Brotherhood."

In his testimony, Dille said "there's a clear line in the sand" between both camps of current and former SEALs on what is acceptable behavior in combat.

"It ain't over until we're sitting on a front porch with six shooters and the 'Real Brotherhood' comes knocking," Dille wrote in one text message. "I look forward to laying down some lead again on that occasion."

Defense attorney Tim Parlatore then asked, "Who is the "Real Brotherhood?"

"People who are okay with war crimes," Dille said. He went on to describe them as an "angry mob" of the entire conservative media and former SEALs. Dille and other SEAL witnesses have said in testimony that they have received online threats.

Parlatore then brought up text messages in the thread sent by SO1 Dalton Tolbert, who was a sniper for SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon during their 2017 Iraq deployment. Gallagher has been accused of murdering a wounded ISIS fighter and using his sniper rifle to indiscriminately fire on noncombatants.

Did [Tolbert] say he "worked with a bunch of people who don't care about killing civilians?" Parlatore asked.

Dille said yes.

"Where does he work?" Parlatore continued.

Dille, clearly uncomfortable before responding, then said, "Development Group."

Naval Special Warfare Development Group is the name of the classified unit of SEALs commonly referred to as SEAL Team 6.

At that point, the judge, Capt. Aaron Rugh, shuffled members of the jury and Dille out of the courtroom and had a private discussion with Parlatore and the prosecutor.

Once court resumed with the jury present, Parlatore then asked whether Tolbert had ever said in text messages that he "was going to burn this motherfucking court room to the ground," a reference to where the trial was taking place at Naval Base San Diego.

"Yes," Dille said.

Parlatore also said Tolbert had disparaged defense attorneys and the judge in text messages, though he did not go into specifics.

However, a screenshot of a text message thread obtained by Task & Purpose showed that Tolbert had referred to Rugh as "this shady ass judge."

According to a source familiar with the matter, Tolbert also wrote in the text message thread, "what a fucking joke. Somebody fire this pussy ass fucking judge. Who's fucking courtroom is this? Time to man the fuck up fags."

"If the motherfucking courthouse burned down, I did it," Tolbert wrote, according to the source. "Then they can go fuck themselves with the pussy footing bullshit."

In his testimony, Dille told Parlatore he took the supposed threat against the courtroom as a joke.

Tolbert is expected to testify on Friday.

Naval Special Warfare officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment by deadline.

U.S. Army recruits practice patrol tactics while marching during U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Dec. 6, 2006. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller)

An 18-year-old Army recruit at Fort Jackson died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill, according to an officials with the base.

Read More Show Less
Lance Cpl. Job Wallace (Facebook)

A Camp Pendleton Marine who was believed to be headed back to the base from Arizona on Monday, but never arrived, was found safe in Texas Saturday night, military officials said.

Read More Show Less
Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.

Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.

Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.

Read More Show Less