Navy prosecutors intend to continue moving forward with premeditated murder charges against Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher, despite shocking testimony on Thursday from another SEAL that he was the one who had killed a captured ISIS fighter in Mosul in 2017 – not Gallagher.
Brian O’Rourke, Navy Region Southwest spokesman for Commander Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, told the Navy Times that the Navy “will not be dropping premeditated murder charges against Chief Petty Officer Gallagher, despite Petty Officer [Corey] Scott’s testimony. The credibility of a witness is for the jury to decide.”
Scott on Thursday revealed under oath – and under the protection of immunity that was granted by the government – that he, Gallagher and others had treated the ISIS fighter when he was brought in to Seal Team 7 for about 20 minutes. The detainee appeared to be stabilized but then Gallagher stabbed the ISIS fighter below his collarbone, Scott had testified.
Then, Scott, a SEAL medic, went over and made the decision to cover the ISIS fighter’s breathing tube so he would die by asphyxiation, or suffocation, which he did.
“I knew he was going to die anyway, and I wanted to save him from waking up to whatever would happen to him,” Scott said during his testimony, the Navy Times 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, Iraq. He is also accused of shooting at unarmed civilians. He has pleaded not guilty, and his court-martial trial began on Monday in San Diego.
Scott says he is not lying, and that he did not previously tell the Navy prosecutors about this because he was never asked how the ISIS fighter had died, the Union-Tribune had reported.
“I don’t want him to go to jail,” Scott said, referring to Gallagher, the Union-Tribune reported, noting that Scott had previously obtained immunity from the prosecution to testify.
Scott’s testimony had been highly anticipated, as he was the one who was monitoring the ISIS fighter before his death.
Scott previously told Navy investigators that the fighter was almost dead by the time he was taken into SEAL custody for treatment, and the treatment rendered to the fighter wasn’t medically necessary, according to a letter provided to Navy Times.
Tim Parlatore, Gallagher’s defense attorney, spoke during a press conference following the court events yesterday and told the media, “This is a shoddy investigation. No investigator, no prosecutor ever asked the question of what is the cause of death.”
“Today, for the first time, somebody went to one of these witnesses and actually asked the real question – what is the cause of death,” he noted.
“Chief Gallagher is not guilty of murder,” Parlatore said. “The trial is certainly going to continue, but I expect at the end of this there will be a not guilty verdict.”
Andrea Gallagher, Eddie Gallagher’s wife, said, “We’ve been patiently waiting for the truth to come out, and we’ve heard from a lot of people who are intent and have colluded for over two years to take down my husband. So to hear today that someone finally had the bravery to stand up for the truth was refreshing after all of these years.”