On Wednesday, July 31, President Trump announced over Twitter that he is revoking the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement awards given to the three prosecutors involved in the Eddie Gallagher case.
Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL, was charged with the intentional murder of a teenage ISIS fighter who was captured and being treated for injuries. Additionally, he was faced with charges concerning the claims that he shot civilians before attempting to intimidate witnesses.
Gallagher was freed of these charges as of July 2. However, the charge regarding posing for a photo with the teenage fighter’s corpse was not acquitted and in consequence was reduced one rank to E-6, from Chief Petty Officer to Petty Officer First Class.
On July 10, The San Diego Union Tribune detailed that three of the prosecutors involved in the case had received Navy and Marine Corps Achievement awards. These awards were given to them for performing “above their normal duties.”
President Trump then criticized these prosecutors, announcing his withdrawal of their awards.
“The Prosecutors who lost the case against SEAL Eddie Gallagher (who I released from solitary confinement so he could fight his case properly), were ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal,” the President tweeted, “…I have directed the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer & Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to withdraw and rescind the awards immediately… I am very happy for Eddie Gallagher and his family!”
A Navy official has confirmed that the Secretary of the Navy is rescinding the Achievement awards from the prosecutors.
In his tweets, the President referenced the previous lead prosecutor, Commander Chris Czaplak. Czaplak worked with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and was charged with the allegations of secretly sending email trackers to the defense attorneys before the trial began. In consequence, Czaplak was removed from the case, and the trial was delayed.
The judge, Navy Captain Aaron Rugh later announced that the three prosecutors had not engaged in any misconduct before having their awards stripped.
Photo by Michael Afonso