Navy revokes awards given to prosecutors in Navy SEAL court-martial

01 Août, 2019, 06:36 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Trump Military Medal

The president's tweets follow reports revealing that the prosecution received Navy Achievement Medals and were commended for achieving "superb results".

According to Task and objective, the Navy's Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) in San Diego hosted an award ceremony on July 10 in one of its courtrooms for the attorneys and staffers, during which the RLSO Chief of Staff said words to the effect of "no matter the result, we were right to prosecute [Gallagher]", and "justice was done".

The move coincided with tweets from President Donald Trump repeating his support for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher and directing Spencer to rescind awards that were "ridiculously given" to prosecutors who, according to Trump, "lost the case" against Gallagher.

The military publication Task & Purpose first reported that, after Gallagher was found not guilty, members of the USA government team that prosecuted him were awarded medals for their "superb results" and "expert litigation".

It marked the third time the president has publicly commented directly on the court-martial of the combat veteran, who was accused of committing various war crimes while deployed in Iraq in 2017.

Gallagher was found not guilty earlier in July of murdering a captive ISIS fighter and attempting to murder Iraqi civilians. Trump had intervened on Gallagher's behalf, having him removed from solitary confinement in March while awaiting trial.

Much of the testimony against him came from fellow sailors who were granted immunity from prosecution. One was a medic who surprised prosecutors during the trial by testifying it was he, not Gallagher, who caused the detainee's death by plugging his breathing tube in what the medic described as a mercy killing.

"Not only did [the prosecutors] lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion", Trump tweeted."I have directed the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer & Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to immediately withdraw and rescind the awards".

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"I am very happy for Eddie Gallagher and his family!" he concluded.

The move appeared to be a highly unusual presidential intervention in a case Trump had personally championed and drew immediate condemnation.

Defense lawyers had argued that Gallagher was framed by junior disgruntled platoon members who fabricated the allegations to oust their chief.

Gallagher will serve no jail time because he spent almost nine months in pre-trial custody.

The official said he did not know when Spencer would rescind the awards, which were given to all the prosecutors who worked on the Gallagher court-martial.

It was not immediately clear what awards Trump was referring to on Twitter.

His lawyers say they will fight the sentencing.

The president had Gallagher transferred from a military brig to a less restrictive facility.

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