California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter admitted during a town hall in San Diego that he took a photo with a dead combatant while serving in the U.S. Marines.
The admission came as he tried to explain his vehement defense of Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL charged with multiple war crimes, including murder.
Prosecutors claim that Gallagher stabbed a teenage ISIS fighter and texted a photo of the body with the caption “got him with my hunting knife.” He’s also accused of shooting at least two civilians and firing randomly into crowds.
“A lot of [military personnel] have done the exact same thing,” Hunter said in reference to taking a photo with a dead body. Hunter did not elaborate on whether he posted the photo on social media or texted it to anyone.
Hunter continued, calling the military justice system “corrupt” and intent on punishing “war fighters.”
Gallagher’s defense attorneys claim the charges are a conspiracy against their client started by subordinates who wanted to get rid of their platoon leader.
The court-martial trial against Gallagher is set to start this week at Naval Base San Diego. President Trump said he is considering pardons for military members accused of war crimes.
Hunter, who won re-election in 2018 despite facing corruption charges, declined to discuss his own pending trial at the town hall.
Hunter and his wife Margaret were indicted in 2017 on federal charges of illegally using campaign contributions for personal living expenses. Both have pleaded not guilty and have hearings scheduled for later this summer with a trial likely set for the fall.
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