SAN DIEGO – A military judge presiding over the court-martial of a decorated Navy SEAL leader alleged to have killed an injured ISIS prisoner of war in Iraq dropped two of the charges that had been facing him.
Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher will no longer face trial for allegedly performing a re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse of the teenage militant or for operating a drone over it, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
“We are grateful that these two character-smearing accusations won’t be a part of the trial,” Colby Vokey, one of Gallagher’s attorneys, told the news agency. “There has to be a limit on what kind of accusations can be brought against our warriors fighting ISIS in a combat zone.”
Moreover, Gallagher’s brother, Sean Gallagher, in an interview with Fox News in late November, accused the investigators of trying to “take down” an “elite warrior” so they could advance their own careers.
“This entire investigation is a farce AND a black eye on EVERYONE INVOLVED,” the Navy SEAL’s wife, Andrea, wrote on Facebook, reported Fox. “Eddie, a decorated war hero, has now been (in) jail for 5 MONTHS due to a corrupt case built on a mound of lies.”
Nevertheless, despite the legal win, Gallagher is still facing the two more serious charges of premeditated murder and aggravated assault.
The 39-year-old married father of three has remained jailed in a Navy brig in California as he waits for his trial. It is scheduled to commence on Feb. 19.
Throughout his 19 years of service, Gallagher earned the Bronze Star with V for Valor twice, a Meritorious Unit commendation, and a trio of Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, among other recognitions and decorations.
He fought in Iraq and Afghanistan several times. But it was during Gallagher’s last combat deployment, in 2017, that prosecutors claim he lost his way and “decided to act like the monster the terrorists accuse us of being.”
Investigators allege that while the teen terrorist was receiving medical treatment from SEAL medics, Gallagher walked up and stabbed him in the neck and side with a knife, killing the fighter. Then, they say, he posed for photographs with the fighter’s body, holding the militant’s head in one hand and his blade in the other – and sent one of the images to a fellow SEAL with the caption “I got him with my hunting knife.”