Video footage from a helmet cam shows that Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher did not try to kill a captured, critically wounded ISIS fighter, but rather tried to provide medical treatment to him, according to Gallagher’s defense team and new reports.
The footage allegedly contradicts a claim the Navy prosecution has made, that Gallagher killed the wounded fighter. Gallagher, 39, was arrested on Sept. 11, 2018. He is charged with premeditated murder, 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.
The helmet cam footage allegedly shows that Gallagher did not try to kill the fighter when he was brought to SEAL Team 7. Rather, he tried to help the ISIS fighter and medically treat him, Tim Parlatore, Gallagher’s civilian defense attorney, has said, according to reports.
California Rep. Duncan Hunter was slated to show the roughly 2-minute video to members of Congress on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. EST, and Parlatore was scheduled to be on-hand to answer questions for members of Congress about the case.
Media Availability: @Rep_Hunter and other members viewing video evidence in Chief Navy SEAL Gallagher’s case followed by media avail. 2429 RHOB at 2:30 pm.
— HouseRadioTV (@HouseRadioTV) May 8, 2019
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, this video says two words very loudly: not guilty,” Hunter told American Military News this week before the video was shown to Congress. “Many of my colleagues have been following this case and I am confident after watching this video they are going to have many of the same questions I have: why have we been lied to? Why is the Navy pursuing this case? What is this doing to our warfighter?”
A public affairs officer for Naval Special Warfare (NSW) did not return a request for comment before press time. But Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence is quoted in at least one other news outlet as responding with: “NSW is committed to a fair and transparent military judicial process, for all involved. I’m not going to comment on evidence being circulated outside the legal proceedings. Defense counsel will have the opportunity to present their case at the court-martial.”
The video had previously been under wraps, but Parlatore recently got permission to show it to members of Congress. Parlatore hasn’t been able to speak to some of the defense team’s recent motions the past several weeks, as the judge issued a protective order on any motions filed in the case. The gag order has been in place since early April.
At his Article 32 hearing in November 2018, the prosecution alleged that three witnesses saw Gallagher stab the ISIS fighter to death, and that he later texted “Got him with my hunting knife,” along with a photo of him, the dead ISIS fighter and a hunting knife.
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.
Additionally Gallagher’s defense team 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.
Gallagher’s defense team had also filed a motion to remove restrictions that are hindering Gallagher’s ability to prepare for his trial – restrictions that his team says are the result of command attempting to exert “unlawful command influence.”
The motion asserted that NSW Group 1 Commodore Capt. Matthew Rosenbloom, Eddie Gallagher’s commander, “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 slated to begin May 28.