The defense team for Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher has filed a motion accusing the prosecution and a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigator of misconduct and blatantly suppressing information that doesn’t support their case -but that could help Gallagher’s case, according to reports.
The motion was reportedly filed this week, and it was first reported by the Navy Times.
The motion accuses the prosecution of withholding information that would benefit Gallagher, and it also accuses the lead NCIS investigator, Special Agent Joe Warpinski, of “working ‘to ensure that witness interviews were documented in a manner that would minimize anything that did not support his pre-determined conclusions,'” Navy Times reported.
Gallagher, 39, was arrested on Sept. 11, 2018. He is accused of stabbing and killing a critically wounded ISIS fighter during a 2017 deployment to Mosul. He is also accused of shooting at unarmed civilians.
Some members of SEAL Team 7 brought forth allegations against Gallagher and were initially interviewed by NCIS last year. But when two specific members of the team were again interviewed by NCIS in January, they were essentially “ordered” to give testimony, and key statements that might benefit Gallagher were completely left out of the subsequent reports; notably, the reports allegedly do not include video of the interview, but rather a summary, Task and Purpose reported.
Tim Parlatore, Gallagher’s civilian defense attorney, can’t speak to the recent motion, as the judge has issued a protective order on any motions filed in the case tht has been in place since earlier month.
But Parlatore acknowledged Friday that there are rules of discovery of information that both parties should adhere to.
“There are rules of discovery that the prosecution knows they have to follow. It shouldn’t take me discovering and then pointing out their misconduct for them to finally start to follow the rules, one month before the trial starts – if they are fully following the rules right now, which is seriously in question,” Parlatore told American Military News.
There have been hundreds of pages of documents leaked to the media regarding this case, and some reports about Gallagher paint only one side or a limited side of the story – unable to be addressed by the defense – based on the content of the leaked documents.
The judge has ordered the leaks stop, as they could taint the trial, influence the jury and make Gallagher look bad.
Gallagher’s defense team had also filed a motion to remove restrictions that are hindering Gallagher’s ability to prepare for his trial in May – restrictions that his team says are the result of command attempting to exert “unlawful command influence.”
The motion asserted that Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Group 1 Commodore Capt. Matthew Rosenbloom “improperly prejudged his desired outcome” for the case, an action Gallagher’s legal team says is unlawful and is intentionally hampering their client’s ability to assist in his own defense.
Gallagher’s court-martial is set to start May 28.