Helmet camera footage clears Navy SEAL accused of killing ISIS fighter, lawyer claims
"It shows that Chief Gallagher's immediate reaction was not to murder him but rather to help him. After all that, why would we he take out his knife and stab him?"
The civilian attorney for Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher said he will show lawmakers video footage on Wednesday that destroys prosecutors' case against his client.
Gallagher is accused of killing a wounded ISIS fighter during the 2017 battle for Mosul, but helmet camera footage from other members of his platoon show Gallagher actually tried to save the fighter's life, said Timothy Parlatore.
“It shows that Chief Gallagher's immediate reaction was not to murder him but rather to help him,” Parlatore told Task & Purpose on Monday. “After all that, why would he take out his knife and stab him?”
Gallagher was placed in pretrial custody on Sept. 11 while he was being treated for traumatic brain injuries at the Camp Pendleton Intrepid Spirit Center. He faces a series of charges for allegedly killing the wounded ISIS fighter, posing for a reenlistment video next to the man's corpse, and allegedly shooting unarmed civilians with a sniper rifle in separate incidents.
At his Article 32 hearing in November, an investigator testified that three witnesses saw Gallagher stab the wounded ISIS fighter to death. Prosecutors also claimed that Gallagher texted a picture afterward showing him cradling the dead fighter's head with one hand and holding a knife with the other hand along with the message, “Got him with my hunting knife.”
However, the helmet camera footage directly contradicts the witnesses testimony on which prosecutors have built their case by showing Gallagher protected the wounded ISIS fighter from vengeful Iraqi forces and went to great effort to tend to the man's wounds.
“In this video, you see the Iraqi partner forces dragging this half-dead terrorist off the hood of the Humvee … Eddie coming over, taking charge, clearing everybody away; the ISIS guy is now down the ground; Eddie pulls out his medical kit and starts assessing his injuries to perform first aid,” Parlatore said. “That's all that's in the video.”
Gallagher's case became national news in March when President Donald Trump tweeted that the SEAL should be moved to “less restrictive confinement,” leading to his eventual release from the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego.
Parlatore said he has received permission from the judge in the case to show the helmet camera footage to members of Congress, but he is not allowed to let Task & Purpose view it.
Breitbart's Kristina Wong first reported on Monday that Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has invited other lawmakers to view the video with him on Wednesday.
“Congressman Hunter is very much looking forward to other members of Congress reviewing this video under the court's protective order because it speaks for itself,” Hunter's spokesman Michael Harrison told Task & Purpose on Monday. “It shows a Navy SEAL administering aid to an ISIS terrorist and serves as a complete contradiction to the Navy's case. It will be very interesting to see how the Navy will respond when Members of Congress ask why they have been lied to in this matter.”
A spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare Command declined to comment about the helmet camera footage when reached by Task & Purpose on Monday.
“NSW is committed to a fair and transparent military judicial process, for all involved,” Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence said. “I'm not going to comment on evidence being circulated outside the legal proceedings. Defense counsel will have the opportunity to present their case at the court martial.”