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Trump says 'glad I could help!' in congratulatory tweet to Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher
President Donald Trump said in a congratulatory tweet on Wednesday morning that he was "glad he could help" Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher, a day after Gallagher 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. "You have been through much together. Glad I could help!"
Trump tweeted his congratulations before Gallagher had even been sentenced.
The SEAL Chief faces a maximum punishment of four months confinement over the photo charge. Since he already served more than 8 months in the brig prior to his trial, the punishment will amount to time served and he'll walk free.
However, a Navy official told Task & Purpose that with any sentence involving confinement, the rules for court-martial require an automatic reduction in rank to E-1. Essentially, the official said, if the jury decides to sentence Gallagher to any brig time, even if it's time served, he'll be retiring as an E-1 instead of an E-7.
Gallagher, 40, was charged with premeditated murder over an alleged stabbing of a wounded ISIS fighter in Mosul in 2017, and attempted premeditated murder over alleged unlawful sniper shots taken at an old man and a young girl. He was also charged with wrongfully posing for an unofficial photo with a human casualty, and charges related to obstruction of justice.
The jury found him not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder, and not guilty of obstruction of justice over accusations he tried to intimidate his fellow SEALs from reporting him.
The jury found him guilty only of unlawfully posing for a picture with a human casualty. Prosecutors showed two photos of Gallagher posing with a body throughout his trial.
The verdict was reached after about a day of deliberation. The government and defense attorneys both made closing arguments in the case on Monday, after presenting testimony from numerous witnesses over two weeks.
It's not clear what Trump meant by "help" that he's extended toward Gallagher and his family. Gallagher's legal team has close ties with members of the Trump administration, and Trump previously ordered Gallagher released from pre-trial confinement. The New York Times also reported in May that Trump had been considering a pardon for Gallagher before he went to trial.
One of Gallagher's civilian attorneys, Tim Parlatore, told Task & Purpose the president's help was in reference to getting Gallagher out of pre-trial confinement.
"Here's what the president did. He actually gave me the opportunity to prepare a defense," Parlatore told Task & Purpose. "When he decided to release Eddie from the brig … it's such an important factor to being able to prepare a defense."
As Parlatore explained, there were nearly 6,000 pages of discovery his team had to go through with Gallagher in preparation for trial. He said the government confined Gallagher to "break his spirit" instead of its intended purpose — to protect the community or stop someone from fleeing.
"The reason we won this case is because we were able to prepare, and to go into that trial ready to attack the government's evidence in a way that would've been extraordinarily difficult if he were still sitting in the brig in Miramar," Parlatore said.
Gallagher is expected to be sentenced later on Wednesday morning.
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.
An F-15 is rocking a WWII paint job to honor a B-17 pilot who gave his life to save a wounded crewman
An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.
A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.
Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.
Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.
After 70 years, service members are finally filing medical malpractice claims against the US military
Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.
Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.
It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.
Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.
A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.
Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.
With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.