Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher plans on asking President Donald Trump for a presidential pardon, his family announced on Thursday.
A message posted to the Free Eddie Gallagher Facebook page, which is maintained by Gallagher's wife Andrea, stated that his family “is seeking Congressional Support for a Presidential Pardon” and encouraging supporters to call their congressman and demand their signatures to a letter “to #FREEEDIE from this Travesty of Justice.”
The message, originally posted to Instagram, tags three congressman by name: Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the latter of which vowed in May to ask Trump for a pardon depending on the outcome of Gallagher's court-martial.
Gallagher was originally sentenced on July 3 to be reduced to the rank of E-6, to forfeit $2,697.00 for four months, and was ordered confined for four months for unlawfully posing with a corpse Iraq during a 2017 deployment.
Earlier this week, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday upheld Gallagher's sentence while allowing him to retire at a reduced rank of First Class Petty Officer (E-6) rather than being automatically reduced to an E-1, in accordance with Navy regulations.
In an Oct. 1 letter to Gilday requesting clemency., lawyers for Gallagher wrote that “no further punishment is necessary” for the special warfare operator, arguing that “the suffering inflicted on Chief Gallagher and his family as a result of this case far exceeds what is appropriate for a charge of posing for a photo with a dead terrorist.”
Gilday “thoroughly reviewed the record of trial, along with the clemency request submitted by the defense in the General Court-Martial of Special Operations Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher,” Cmdr. Nate Christensen, spokesman for the Chief of Naval Operations, told Task & Purpose in a statement on Tuesday.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Rep. Hunter said he and “many of my colleagues” would be immediately reaching to Trump seeking a pardon for Gallagher. “He deserves better,” Hunter said. Gallagher, who is currently on leave, was also recently photographed with Rudy Guiliani, the president's personal lawyer (Another one of Trump's attorney's, Mark Mukasey, also represents Gallagher).
“A lot of people were upset by this result, where Eddie Gallagher is the only person that gets punished, despite the entire platoon being in the picture, including his superior officer,” Tim Parlatore, one of Gallagher's attorneys, told Task & Purpose.
“We didn't need to ask for a pardon, because that happened organically, because members of Congress are paying to attention to what happened in this case.”
When asked whether Gallagher's legal team was working on a pardon, Parlatore said he had not yet submitted a formal pardon application.
“However, there is a process that gets followed for that,” Parlatore said. “There's a process through the Navy — the clemency board — and at this point, his sentence has only just been approved, so our main focus is to get him retired, because that process hasn't even started yet.”
Trump has expressed support for Gallagher multiple times on Twitter and congratulated him the day after he was found not guilty of murder but found guilty of posing for a photo with a corpse.
“Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family,” Trump wrote at the time. “You have been through much together. Glad I could help!”
Trump had previously pardoned U.S. Army Lieutenant Michael Behenna, who spent five years in Leavenworth for killing an Iraqi prisoner in 2008.