first_imgMilitary jury finds Edward Gallagher, backed by Trump, not guilty on all but one count in 2017 case Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Navy Seal found not guilty of murdering Isis captive Tue 2 Jul 2019 18.52 EDT Last modified on Wed 3 Jul 2019 06.37 EDT Topics Share on Twitter Guardian staff and agencies Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Support The Guardian Reuse this content news A military jury in California has found a Navy Seal not guilty of murdering a wounded Islamic State captive under his care in Iraq in 2017.The jury in San Diego on Tuesday also found special operations chief Edward Gallagher not guilty of all other counts except for the violation of posing for photographs with a dead war casualty.The verdict was seen as a major blow to military prosecutors.Donald Trump had previously intervened in the case, in a highly unusual act, and spoken out in support of the officer.Gallagher was accused of fatally stabbing an Islamic State prisoner who had been wounded by an airstrike in Iraq in 2017, and other crimes.He had also been accused of attempted murder.Gallagher reacted to the verdict with “tears of joy, emotion, freedom and absolute euphoria”, his defense lawyer Marc Mukasey said.“Suffice it to say this is a huge victory,” Mukasey said outside court.Defense lawyers said Gallagher was framed by disgruntled platoon members who fabricated the allegations to oust their chief. They said there was no physical evidence to support the allegations.The prosecution said Gallagher’s own text messages and photos incriminated him. They included photos of Gallagher holding the dead militant up by the hair and clutching a knife in his other hand.A text message Gallagher sent while deployed said: “Got him with my hunting knife.”The panel of five US marines and two sailors, including one Seal, listened earlier on Tuesday to a recording of Lt Thomas MacNeil, the first witness in the court martial of Gallagher.MacNeil described hearing Gallagher say “he’s mine” on the platoon radio after learning there was a prisoner who had been wounded in an airstrike.MacNeil testified about seeing the prisoner alive and then returning later when he was dead.MacNeil also testified about a custom knife that Gallagher always carried or would hang on the wall of the room they shared. The defendant was accused of using a knife to stab the wounded militant in the neck. He was also accused of shooting civilians, in separate incidents in 2017.Gallagher had pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including the violations for posing with a human casualty and for allegedly retaliating against Seals who reported him.In March, 18 congressional Republicans wrote to the navy secretary, Richard Spencer, raising concerns about Gallagher’s confinement at a navy brig in San Diego.They said family and friends reported Gallagher had not had sufficient access to his attorneys and was not receiving enough food or adequate medical care, describing him as “a decorated war fighter”.Trump then weighed in from his Florida resort at Mar-a-Lago. Before leaving to play golf one morning he said in a tweet that Gallagher would be moved to less restrictive confinement.This was “in honor of his past service to our country”, Trump wrote, adding: “Process should move quickly!”center_img Share via Email … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Since you’re here… US military Share via Email Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp Donald Trump Share on Twitter Edward Gallagher walks out of military court with his wife, Andrea Gallagher, on Tuesday.Photograph: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images Islamic State US military Shares4040last_img

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