A decorated US Navy SEAL on Friday pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated murder and other crimes in the stabbing death of a teenage Islamic State (IS) prisoner in Iraq last year and the shooting of unarmed Iraqi civilians.
US Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is to stand trial between Feb. 19 and March 1 before a jury that is to be one-third enlisted personnel.
Gallagher has been jailed since his arrest on Sept. 11 and a judge said he would determine next week whether the 19-year navy veteran should be released before the trial.
The case stands out because of the seriousness of the allegations against an elite special warfare operator and because prosecutors’ case includes the accounts of fellow navy SEALs, an extremely tight-knit group even by military standards.
At Friday’s arraignment, prosecutors handed over 1,700 pages of documents, including text messages they say show Gallagher trying to intimidate witnesses.
His attorney, Phil Stackhouse, dismissed them as “hearsay and double hearsay statements.”
Stackhouse said his client is being falsely accused by disgruntled SEALs who wanted to get rid of a demanding platoon leader.
Navy prosecutors have painted a picture of a highly trained fighter and medic going off the rails on his eighth deployment, indiscriminately shooting at Iraqi civilians and stabbing to death a captured IS fighter estimated to be 15 years old, then posing with his corpse at his re-enlistment ceremony.
If convicted, Gallagher, who was awarded the Bronze Star twice, faces life in prison.
At a two-day preliminary hearing at the navy base in November, investigators said Gallagher stabbed the teen in the neck and body with a knife after he was handed over to the SEALs in Mosul to be treated for wounds sustained by the Iraqi Army and its prisoners during an airstrike in May 2017.
US Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Joe Warpinski told the court that a SEAL medic told him he believed he had just stabilized the teen when Gallagher “walked up without saying anything at all” and started stabbing him.
Afterward, prosecutors said he took photographs of himself with the corpse, holding up his knife in one hand and propping up the body by holding the head with his other hand.
He also posed with the body during his re-enlistment ceremony captured in the footage, Warpinski said.
When another SEAL questioned Gallagher, he replied: “I was working on him, and he just died,” Warpinski said.
Gallagher’s attorney told the court that the teen died from injuries from the airstrike.
Warpinski, who spoke to nine members of SEAL Team 7, said that he was told Gallagher would fire into crowds of Iraqis.
He is accused of shooting an elderly man carting a water jug in Mosul in June 2017 and a girl walking along a riverbank in the same area a month later.
Investigators told the court that Gallagher had threatened to publicly name fellow SEALs if they reported his actions.
Some SEALs were so concerned that they did not tell him his sniper rifle settings were off so his shooting would be less accurate and they would fire warning shots to clear away civilians, Warpinski said.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic