Charges against a Navy SEAL accused of covering up war crimes allegedly committed by SEAL Edward Gallagher were recently dismissed by the Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson.
A military judge had vindicated Gallagher for accusations of murder and attempted murder last month at Naval Base San Diego.
Lt. Jacob Portier was expected to go to trial on multiple charges, including dereliction of duty. According to a statement released by the Navy, Richardson had the case dismissed.
Portier destroyed evidence and failed to report Gallagher, who was accused of stabbing a teenage ISIS fighter and allegedly shot Iraqui civilians in Mosul.
Gallagher was the only one convicted by the jury for the photo he took with the combatant’s deceased body. The conviction led to a reduction in pay and a drop in ranking for Gallagher. He was also sentenced to four months in prison, which he has already served.
In addition, Richardson refused Navy prosecutors the power to allow perjury charges against Petty Officer Corey Scott, who testified at Gallagher’s trial that he had suffocated the ISIS fighter after Gallagher stabbed him. According to Scott, he held down the teen’s breathing tube because he wanted to prevent him from further suffering and torture by Iraqis.
Scott’s testimony brought forth the possibility of a potential prosecution against him; however, the Navy’s statement suggests that it is unlikely.
President Trump announced a day before the case’s dismissal that he would be revoking the awards given to some of the Navy prosecutors who introduced the case against Gallagher. Trump rescinded the awards due to allegations of misconduct with the prosecutors who used software to track and spy on the email accounts of the defense teams.
The custody release for Gallagher was ordered by the judge overseeing Gallagher’s court material, Capt. Aaron Rugh, after the discovery of these findings.
Photo by Bill Oxford