Two of the charges against Chief Eddie Gallagher have been dropped by the military Judge,
Navy Capt. Aaron Rugh, who ruled that they were not prohibited acts under the UCMJ. The decorated Chief is in custody accused of war crimes.
Operating a drone over the body of an ISIS fighter and conducting a reenlistment ceremony by the body were ruled as not prohibited under Article 134 of the Military Code of Justice. Chief Gallagher still faces numerous charges of “war crimes” which are being questioned by the defense and many others as to their veracity. He remains in custody.
The charges may have stemmed from men who had a grudge against the Navy SEAL leader. Is there malicious prosecution here? Are the stories fabricated?
According to the Navy Times, Lt Portier, who was charged as well, may have his court martial tossed if the judge in that case agrees with Captain Rugh. Lt Portier allegedly said that there was nothing criminal about what happened in the enlistment ceremony, just something in “poor taste.” Poor taste in a war zone is not criminal behavior.
On Thursday, Navy Captain Jonathan Stephens ruled that Portier’s defense attorney could start interviewing the “witnesses”, which could throw more wrenches in the prosecution’s case.
Navy Times noted:
Sullivan wants to call a slate of high-ranking witnesses from the SEAL community, including the commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, Capt. Matthew D. Rosenbloom, as well as Rosenbloom’s staff judge advocate, Lt. Keleigh Anderson, and NCIS special agent Joseph Warpinski, who spearheaded the law enforcement probe into the alleged war crimes.
Also on his list are the SO1 who sparked the allegations against Portier and Gallagher and the AOIC who backed them up.
Sullivan suspects that Rosenbloom colluded with other unidentified senior Navy leaders to create a draconian “protective order” that attorneys had to sign or they were barred from reading the evidence collected against Portier.
Sullivan is likely correct. The narratives provided by some of the SEAL operatives to NCIS have several discrepancies in their story, and one troop chief stated that the platoon was riddled with hate and “discontent.”
Which is why Chief Gallagher held a three hour meeting while still in theater to address the issues. Not once did they bring up the list of “war crimes” currently sitting against him at that meeting.
Two Iraqi military leaders have contradicted the information on the charge sheet, but it is unclear if anyone is listening to them at this point.
Some of the complaints men in the platoon held against the Chief sound like a gaggle of high school cheerleaders. We’ll publish more as the day for trial gets closer. Lt Portier’s attorney hopes to re-open the Article 32 hearing on February 15. Chief Gallagher’s trial is set to begin February 19.