Military

SEAL Murder Case Takes Another Strange Turn

During trial, Corey Scott claims he, not Eddie Gallagher, actually killed a jihadi.

Harold Hutchison · Jun. 24, 2019

Prior to Memorial Day, we covered the case of Eddie Gallagher — one of several cases in which there was a potential for President Donald Trump to issue a pardon. According to Fox News, that case took a shocking turn this past week when a different SEAL claimed he was responsible for the death of an ISIS terrorist, largely because he feared the dying terrorist would be tortured by Iraqi government troops. This is the latest development in a case that has been marred by prosecutorial misconduct.

Despite Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott’s admission during his bombshell testimony that he essentially euthanized the terrorist, Navy prosecutors won’t drop the murder case against Gallagher.

As we noted back in May, Gallagher faces serious charges. If it’s proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he did commit the acts he is accused of carrying out, then he should be imprisoned for a long time. The problem is that while he needs to be held accountable, the same must be true for those guilty of prosecutorial misconduct.

The allegations of misconduct by the prosecution, including the sending of malware-laced emails to the Navy Times and Gallagher’s attorneys, already cast a cloud over this prosecution. Even though new prosecutors were assigned, there seems to have been little accountability beyond that. Nor has there been any real outrage from the folks who usually get up in arms about a fair trial.

Now, after this revelation by a fellow SEAL, it’s beyond doubt that this case has gone haywire. Can we trust that a conviction of Gallagher was really obtained fairly? We already have valid reasons to doubt if that is the case. If we can’t be certain that the conviction was obtained fairly, then a pardon may be called for.

The case was already controversial before the misconduct allegations, largely due to some past incidents where troops faced either investigation or prosecution. Now, the admission of another SEAL will only add to it. Corey Scott was given immunity in exchange for his testimony, and so that can’t be used as a basis to prosecute him, at least not without the Navy Judge Advocate General Corps going back on its word to Scott. Then again, given that they tried spying on defense lawyers and journalists … could charges against Scott for an act of mercy (however misguided) be ruled out?

It wouldn’t be as difficult to give some benefit of the doubt in this matter if we hadn’t seen SEAL Team Six and the CIA smeared over their operations in the Global War on Terror. We also have to keep in mind that captured al-Qaida manuals (ISIS is an al-Qaida spinoff) instruct members to claim mistreatment and cry “torture” if captured.

So, where do we go from here? While all of the evidence is not public, at this point, it’s almost unimaginable that a member of the panel in Gallagher’s court-martial could vote for conviction. With all that uncertainty, it may be time to end the prosecution, either with the Navy dismissing the charges, or, if all else fails, President Trump issuing pardons to Gallagher and Scott.

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