Prosecutor: Navy SEAL bragged he 'got' victim with knife




  • In US
  • 2019-06-18 21:59:50Z
  • By JULIE WATSON and BRIAN MELLEY

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A decorated Navy SEAL stabbed to death a wounded and captive teenage Islamic State fighter in Iraq and then bragged about it, a military prosecutor told jurors Tuesday during opening statements in a politically charged court-martial.

Lt. Brian John projected a photo of the dead prisoner in the military courtroom, along with a text message that Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher sent to friends.

"Good story behind this," Gallagher wrote. "Got him with my hunting knife."

The defense told the jury that Gallagher treated the militant's wounds and didn't kill him. Attorney Tim Parlatore, who has claimed the text was an attempt at dark humor, said there's no body, autopsy or any forensic evidence to show a killing happened. He says the case was built on lies by junior SEALs who hated Gallagher.

"This case is not about murder," Parlatore said. "It's about mutiny. He didn't murder or attempt to murder anyone."

The trial is exposing fractures in the secrecy that typically shrouds the elite special forces as fellow troops testify against Gallagher, who had served eight tours of duty and earned two Bronze Stars for valor.

Gallagher, whose case has drawn President Donald Trump's attention, faces seven counts that include premeditated murder and attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that carry a potential life sentence.

They include allegations he shot two civilians - an elderly man and a school-age girl - in separate incidents from sniper perches in Iraq in 2017.

Fellow SEALs will testify that they fired warning shots to protect civilians, John said.

Those witnesses were not in the same building as Gallagher and didn't see the shootings he's accused of carrying out, Parlatore said, adding that one of the shootings was reportedly done by an Islamic State member.

The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.

The jury is composed of five enlisted men, including a Navy SEAL and four Marines, plus a Navy commander and a Marine chief warrant officer. Most of the jurors have served in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gallagher's defense has been championed by his family and some congressional Republicans who have claimed that he's a hero getting railroaded. Trump intervened to get Gallagher removed from the brig as he awaited trial and is said to be considering a pardon for him.

The case has been plagued by news leaks of court documents and a subsequent investigation to find the source of those leaks. The lead prosecutor was removed from the case earlier this month for tracking the defense team's emails as part of the leak investigation.

Defense lawyers unsuccessfully sought to have a Navy judge dismiss the case because they say investigators and prosecutors withheld evidence that could help Gallagher and violated his rights to a fair trial by embedding the tracking software in emails sent to them.

Capt. Aaron Rugh refused to dismiss the case, but he took steps to ensure Gallagher gets a fair trial and fix violations of his constitutional right against illegal searches and the right to counsel.

Rugh released Gallagher from custody, removed the lead prosecutor and reduced the maximum penalty he faces if convicted, to life imprisonment with parole instead of no chance of parole.

___

Melley reported from Los Angeles.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Democrats, Republicans to seek reversal of Trump Syria pullback: Pelosi
Democrats, Republicans to seek reversal of Trump Syria pullback: Pelosi

The top congressional Democrat said Monday she had agreed with Republicans on the need for a resolution to overturn Donald Trump's "dangerous" troop withdrawal from northern Syria, as the US president threatened tough sanctions against Ankara. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said congressional

Pentagon chief vows to cooperate with impeachment probe
Pentagon chief vows to cooperate with impeachment probe

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday the Pentagon would cooperate with the congressional impeachment inquiry -- in an apparent break with President Donald Trump's policy to thwart the probe. Esper said his department would try to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats seeking records

Inside look at Melania Trump
Inside look at Melania Trump's daily diet, including her favorite meal

A former model, Melania is no stranger to a healthy lifestyle.

Hunter Biden Steps Down from Chinese Board as Trump Attacks
Hunter Biden Steps Down from Chinese Board as Trump Attacks

(Bloomberg) -- Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company and promising to forego all foreign work if his father, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is elected president in 2020.After months of keeping a relatively low-profile as President Donald Trump leveled a barrage of unsubstantiated accusations of corruption at him, the younger Biden is publicly vowing to avoid any conflict of interest.According to a statement released on his behalf by his lawyer George Mesires, Biden said he'll resign at the end of the month from the management company of a private equity fund that's backed by Chinese state-owned entities. He also pledged that he...

Trump backs Rudy Giuliani after report says president
Trump backs Rudy Giuliani after report says president's lawyer is under investigation

"So now they are after the legendary 'crime buster' and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC, Rudy Giuliani," Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.