Commander Accused Of Restricting Navy Seal, Defying Trump

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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President Donald Trump ordered that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher be moved to less restrictive confinement, but 10 days later, Gallagher’s lawyers are accusing his commander of putting unnecessary restrictions on him.

Gallagher’s legal team is accusing Commodore Capt. Matthew Rosenbloom of putting “unnecessary and punitive restrictions” on Gallagher in order to get him sent back to his restrictive confinement aboard a brig at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California, according to Fox News.

Gallagher is being held at another San Diego facility, Fox News reported. (RELATED: Trump To Move Navy Seal Accused Of War Crimes To Somewhere Less ‘Restrictive’)

Gallagher’s lawyers provided Fox News with a 19-page court motion detailing their accusations against Rosenbloom, saying he is imposing “conditions of pretrial restraint unlawfully placed upon” Gallagher.

“Despite numerous attempts to bring the illegality of these actions to CAPT Rosenbloom’s attention, in the hopes that he would reverse course, CAPT Rosenbloom has remained intransigent and defiant of both the Orders of the President of the United States and the principles of the Constitution, which he swore to uphold and defend,” wrote lawyer Timothy Parlatore.

Restrictions allegedly include forcing Gallagher to wear his uniform at all times, limiting his food to “a vending machine and a limited selection of processed food,” preventing him from talking to his family unless he is with a command representative or defense attorney, and only allowing him to speak to his defense team over the phone in the presence of a command representative, according to Fox News.

Rosenbloom said in a letter that the “restraint ordered is required by the circumstances,” according to Fox News.

“I have a reasonable belief offenses triable by court-martial have been committed; SOC Gallagher committed the offenses; and the restraint ordered is required by the circumstances,” Rosenbloom wrote. “In line with determinations previously made by both the Internal Reviewing Officer and the Military Judge, I find the stipulations of restriction are required to prevent attempts by SOC Gallagher to intimidate witnesses and obstruct justice.”

“CAPT Rosenbloom cannot possibly have risen to the leadership position he now holds and still lack a basic understanding of the applicable constitutional principles or that limited telephone access from the quarterdeck is not sufficient to communicate with his attorneys,” Gallagher’s lawyers said in their court motion. “The only rational conclusion is that CAPT Rosenbloom fully understands these principles and is flagrantly violating them to attempt to exert undue influence on the outcome of this case.”

These accusations come after Trump ordered Gallagher to be moved to less restrictive confinement in a tweet March 30.

“In honor of his past service to our Country, Navy Seal #EddieGallagher will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court,” Trump tweeted. “Process should move quickly!”

Gallagher has been imprisoned for alleged war crimes, including premeditated murder and aggravated assault against an Islamic State prisoner and civilians. He spent six months on the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in California as he awaited the beginning of his war crimes trial, but Republicans brought his case to Trump’s attention after reports suggested Gallagher’s access to food, his legal team and medical care were being restricted.

Commander Tam Lawrence, spokesperson for Naval Special Warfare, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement that the allegations are serious and that the “military judicial process must be allowed to play out.”

“In accordance with the Rules for Court Martial, Capt Rosenbloom is within his authority to place Chief Petty Officer Gallagher in a restricted status because there was reasonable belief that offenses triable by court-martial had been committed; that Chief Gallagher committed the offenses; and the restraint ordered is required by the circumstances,” Lawrence said.

“In line with determinations previously made by both the Initial Reviewing Officer and the Military Judge, he found the stipulations of restriction were required to prevent attempts by SOC Gallagher to intimidate witnesses and obstruct justice. As has been the case throughout, Chief Petty Officer Gallagher continues to be able to see his family, speak to them on the phone, to have access to legal counsel and medical and dental care.”

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