The president bragged on Wednesday about Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher beating nearly all war crime charges, including pre-meditated murder.
Gallagher’s court-martial, which focused on war crimes he was alleged to have committed while on tour in 2017 in Mosul, Iraq, finally came to a close on Tuesday. He was found not guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder of civilians.
Gallagher was, however, found guilty on a single charge stemming from his decision to pose for photographs with the dead body of a 12 year old boy. Gallagher then texted the photo to friends with the caption, “good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife,” per Task & Purpose. Although he faces a four-month maximum sentence, Gallagher’s attorney, Tim Parlatore, said he expects his client will go home today given the time he spent in pre-trial custody.
The announcement that Gallagher had been most cleared was welcome news to Trump, who previously intervened in March to get Gallagher relocated to a more comfortable prison. This morning, Trump tweeted his congratulations to Gallagher, adding, “Glad I could help!”
The allegations against Gallagher by several fellow SEALS were horrendous. Per the Navy Times, this included not just the “trophy photo” with the dead boy, who has been described as an “ISIS fighter” by news outlets:
Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward “Eddie” Gallagher not only stabbed to death a teenage wounded Islamic State prisoner of war during a 2017 deployment to Iraq, according to an officer in his chain of command, but the SEAL also called in “false target coordinates to engage a mosque,” tried to push his platoon into pointless and potentially catastrophic firefights with insurgents and became so mentally unstable that he should’ve been relieved from duty but wasn’t.
As detailed by the New York Times, the Navy prosecution team was a mess before and throughout the trial. SEAL command waited over a year to move to charge Gallagher despite numerous disturbing accounts offered by fellow Navy SEALs about Gallagher’s behavior. The lead prosecutor was pulled from the case in May after he was caught illegally attaching tracking software to emails with the defense. And a major witness flipped for Gallagher at the last second—per according to CNN, he claimed for the first time on the stand that while Gallagher had stabbed the boy, he caused the boy’s death by strangling him.
Anyways, it’s almost the holiday and I probably should be thinking about something, anything, other than this, but goddamn does imagining the inevitable Duncan Hunter victory lap suck ass.