A Navy judge released Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher from all pre-trial confinement on Thursday in a move to try and remedy what Gallagher’s defense team has said is gross prosecutorial misconduct, including a recent attempt to spy on defense attorneys and the media.
“As an additional remedy to the interference from the prosecution, I order the release of Chief Gallagher,” Navy judge Capt. Aaron Rugh said in court on Thursday after a five-hour hearing on pre-trial motions, much to the entire room’s surprise, Reuters reported.
Gallagher, a 15-year Navy SEAL, 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. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial was set to begin May 28.
However, his court-martial has been delayed until at least June 10, as Rugh weighs whether or not to remove the prosecutor, Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak, from the case after he admitted to spying on defense attorneys and a member of the media with email tracking malware, Tim Parlatore, one of Gallagher’s civilian defense attorneys, has told American Military News.
Rugh is also considering whether or not to dismiss the case entirely, this as President Donald Trump has said he is considering pardoning Gallagher and other U.S. service members convicted of war crimes, which The New York Times first reported this month.
The judge was slated to consider the defense’s motion to dismiss the case on Friday.
Andrea Gallagher, Eddie Gallagher’s wife, posted to Instagram on Thursday night, “And finally, because the prosecution was UNABLE to produce necessary witnesses, AND because, as recognized by the Judge, the prosecution has VIOLATED Eddie’s 6th Amendment rights… EDDIE HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM ALL PRETRIAL RESTRAINT. We will continue to fight together as a family as it should have been all along.”