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Trump orders Navy to rescind medals ‘ridiculously’ awarded to SEAL Gallagher trial prosecutors

President Donald J. Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House after disembarking Marine One Tuesday, July 30, 2019, following his trip to Williamsburg, Va. (Courtesy Photo by Caleb Spencer)
August 01, 2019

President Trump has ordered that the Navy Achievement Medals awarded to four prosecutors in the Eddie Gallagher case be rescinded immediately.

Trump announced his directive via Twitter late Wednesday, following reports that revealed the four prosecutors were awarded the medals during a ceremony on July 10 – a week after they lost the Gallagher case.

“The Prosecutors who lost the case against SEAL Eddie Gallagher (who I released from solitary confinement so he could fight his case properly), were ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal,” Trump tweeted. “Not only did they lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion.”

“I have directed the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer & Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to immediately withdraw and rescind the awards,” Trump said.

“I am very happy for Eddie Gallagher and his family!” Trump added.

Spencer will be rescinding the awards, a Navy official told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

Gallagher was acquitted on July 2 of all murder, witness intimidation and assault charges against him after a case marred by controversy and prosecutorial misconduct. He was found guilty of one single count involving taking a photo with a terrorist’s corpse.

The following week on July 10, the Navy Region Legal Service Office held a ceremony in a courtroom to award the four prosecutors and support staff and praise them for efforts such s “exceptional witness preparation,” “expert litigation on constitutional issues,” and “superb results” according to a motion obtained by Task & Purpose.

The motion, reportedly quoting details from the award citations, was filed on July 19 in the case of Gallagher’s former platoon commander, Lt. Jacob Portier, who also faces trial for a number of misconduct charges related to the accusations leveled against Gallagher.

According to Task & Purpose, “The motion also claimed that the RLSO Chief of Staff said words to the effect of ‘no matter the result, we were right to prosecute [Gallagher],’ and ‘justice was done.’”

The medals were awarded to lead trial attorney Lt. Scott McDonald, Lt. Brian John, Lt. George Hageman, and a fourth attorney whose name was redacted. The attorneys were commended for their “exceptional” performance in routine tasks such as cross-examination of witnesses, preparing challenging witnesses, delivering rebuttals and trial support, and more.