A military jury on Tuesday found Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher not guilty of murder and attempted murder charges.
#BREAKING: Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher round NOT GUILTY on charges of Murder and Attempted Murder. More to come. @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/HgYuO5J3Ev
— Steve Patterson (@PattersonNBC) July 2, 2019
The jury, which consisted of five Marines and two sailors, began deliberations earlier this week, after the Navy prosecution and Gallagher’s defense team gave their closing arguments. The jury found Gallagher not guilty of nearly all the charges against him.
The court-martial trial had been ongoing for more than two weeks.
Gallagher, a 15-year Navy SEAL, was charged with premeditated murder, accused of stabbing and killing a critically wounded ISIS fighter during a 2017 deployment to Mosul, Iraq. He was also accused of shooting at unarmed civilians. He had pleaded not guilty, and his court-martial trial began in June in San Diego.
The jury had heard recent testimony that contradicted allegations brought forth by Gallagher’s own SEAL teammates that he stabbed the ISIS prisoner, among other things – coupled with a shocking reveal in court when another Navy SEAL said he was the one, not Gallagher, who killed the ISIS fighter. Despite this, Navy prosecutors moved forward with the premeditated murder charges against Gallagher.
Petty Officer Corey Scott had 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 had reported.
Scott said 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 San Diego 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. It has since been reported that Scott might now face a perjury charge.
Just last week, a U.S. Marine who was deployed with Gallagher testified that the SEAL did not stab a critically wounded teenaged terrorist in Mosul in 2017.
While other members of his SEAL Team 7 platoon alleged that Gallagher stabbed the captured ISIS fighter, Staff Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo said in court that he never saw Gallagher use a hunting knife to stab the prisoner, nor did he see stab wounds when he moved the corpse and a bandage on the fighter’s neck came off, the Associated Press had reported.
And, an Iraqi general had also testified via a video taped earlier in June that Gallagher did not stab the ISIS prisoner.
Maj. Gen. Abbas al-Jubouri said he told his men to hand over the terrorist to the SEAL team, and that he did not witness Gallagher or any other SEAL harm the prisoner.