A military jury found Edward Gallagher, the decorated Navy SEAL accused of murder and attempted murder, not guilty Tuesday.
Gallagher was accused of stabbing an injured Islamic State fighter to death and shooting at civilians while he was in Iraq in 2017. Those civilians included an elderly man and a child, according to The New York Times.
The chief special warfare operator reacted with “tears of joy, emotion, freedom and absolute euphoria,” defense lawyer Marc Mukasey said, reported CBS News.
A break came in the case when Special Operator Corey Scott said on the stand that he had killed the ISIS member. Gallagher had stabbed the fighter, but Scott was responsible for the boy’s death, he said. He confessed to suffocating him so the ISIS member wouldn’t be tortured by other Iraqis who had been captured, reported CNN.
“I knew he was going to die anyway,” said Scott during the trial, the Washington Examiner reported. “I wanted to save him from waking up to what had happened next.”
The prosecution presented to witnesses who told the court they had seen Gallagher stab the fighter, and alleged he bragged about it afterward, the Washington Examiner reported. Photographs presented during trial showed Gallagher apparently posing with the body of the ISIS fighter.
The case received national attention when President Donald Trump said he was considering pardoning Gallagher if the Navy SEAL had been found guilty. It also received press before the trial began. (RELATED: Trump Might Be Preparing Memorial Day Pardons For Military Members: Report)
BREAKING: SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher NOT GUILTY on all major counts.
Convicted for posing with the body. Four months, sentenced to time served.
It’s over. Gallagher is an American hero.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) July 2, 2019
The SEALs who accused Gallagher of war crimes were disgruntled and disliked Gallagher, Tim Parlatore, the lead defense attorney, said.
“This case is not about murder, it’s about mutiny,” Parlatore said.
Gallagher has only been convicted of posing with a body and was reportedly sentenced to time served.
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