The legal adventures of Special Warfare Operator Chief Eddie Gallagher are far from over.
Last year, the Navy SEAL was accused of obstruction of justice, attempted homicide, and murdering a teenage Islamic State detainee in Mosul, Iraq, during a combat deployment in 2017, among other things. After a legal saga that lasted for almost a year, and which embarrassed both the Naval Special Warfare community and the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, Chief Gallagher was acquitted of the charges. And he was only convicted for posing for a photograph with the dead body of an ISIS fighter – the one on the article’s feature picture. Chief Gallagher, however, was the only member of SEAL Team 7’s Alpha Platoon to be charged for that offense.
As a result of his conviction, Chief Gallagher is slated to be demoted to E-1 – he’s now an E-7 – forfeit almost $3000 of pay per month for four months, and be confined in the brig for four months – he has already spent two months in confinement before his trial. Moreover, his conviction leaves a felony stain on his records, which could diminish his post-service career opportunities – although NSW operators don’t seem to have issues finding work after their service.
And now, his defense team is seeking to obtain clemency and completely exonerate the SEAL. The defense team has filed a clemency request to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Michael M. Gilday, the head of the Navy.
Timothy Parlatore, Chief Gallagher’s criminal defense attorney, said in a statement to the Navy Times that “what’s shocking about this case is that Chief Gallagher, at the tip of America’s spear in combat, swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, and yet his constitutional rights were violated at every step of his case by the Navy.”
Due to the legal case, Chief Gallagher was also denied promotion to Senior Chief (E-8), fired from an instructor position at the Special Operations Urban Combat School, and had his Silver Star citation, the nation’s third-highest award for valor in combat, defenestrated.
No one will deny that the Navy’s prosecution process was unconventional and borderline illegal – the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) spied on Chief Gallagher’s defense team. However, reports about Chief Gallagher’s actions in another area of operations and independent of the 2017 Iraq deployment suggest that something wasn’t right.