Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, who has served in the Navy for 19 years, is accused of murdering an ISIS prisoner and is facing trial. In a new development, seven Navy SEALS will reportedly be given immunity, in exchange for their testimony against Gallagher, during the war crimes trial.
Gallagher is charged with multiple war crimes, including the murder of an Islamic State combatant who was being held prisoner, and was arraigned on January 4. According to a report by American Military News, he spent the previous four months at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar – located in San Diego, California – in confinement.
The trial phase is anticipated to begin on February 19. The prosecution is expected to call on seven Navy SEALs, all of whom served in Gallagher’s unit, along with a possible 13 other witnesses.
Gallagher claims that the seven SEALs fabricated the charges against him because they disagreed with his leadership style.
Witness have spoken with investigators claiming that Gallagher bragged about killing as many as 200 people while he was deployed to Iraq in 2017. One witness specifically stated that Gallagher informed him that he had killed “three a day” and told the witness to “do the math” to come up with the total number of people he had killed.
Along with being accused of murdering a 15-year-old detainee by stabbing him in the neck while he was in custody, Gallagher also faces numerous other charges, including allegedly pressuring other SEALs to conceal his actions, abusing controlled substances, shooting at unarmed Iraqi civilians, and posing with the corpse of an ISIS fighter during his re-enlistment ceremony.
Lt. Jacob Portier, Gallagher’s superior, was also arraigned for alleged crimes. His arraignment took place on January 22, and he faces multiple charges, including failure to report a war crime, dereliction of duty, interfering with an investigation, and destruction of evidence. Portier also allegedly carried out the re-enlistment ceremony that involved the body of a deceased prisoner and encouraged other SEALs to pose with the corpse for photos.
The Navy claims to have evidence of Gallagher’s crimes, including text messages and photos. However, Navy officials have declined to reveal these details to the public, citing security concerns.