Navy SEAL acquitted of ISIS murder says media tried to frame him

Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher left walks with his wife Andrea Gallagher as they arrive to military court on Naval Base San Diego Monday

The two-week trial included testimony from almost a dozen SEALs, including Special Operator Corey Scott, a medic like Gallagher, who told the court that he saw the chief stab the militant in the neck but stunned the court when he said he was the one who ultimately killed the prisoner by plugging his breathing tube with his thumb as an act of mercy.

He was found not guilty of all charges but the one stemming from the photos he and fellow SEAL team members took with the dead ISIL fighter, who was brought to Gallagher's camp by an Iraqi general after being badly wounded in an air strike.

His wife, Andrea Gallagher, who was behind his side throughout the court-martial said she was elated. "I've got my knife skills on". While the verdict means Gallagher will walk away a free man, the charge could result in a penalty affecting Gallagher's rank, which would in turn affect his salary and pension. "Got him with my hunting knife", read one of the text messages Gallagher allegedly sent to a colleague. Gallagher was also accused of conducting a re-enlistment ceremony next to the remains and flying a drone over them.

They said family and friends reported Gallagher had not had sufficient access to his attorneys and was not receiving enough food or adequate medical care, describing him as "a decorated war fighter".

Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a SEAL medic, said that he saw Gallagher, 40, pull out his knife and stab the prisoner under his collar bone at least once.

"During certain periods of time when they relaxed standards, they had a large influx of people into the community and so they, they weren't up to Eddie Gallagher's standards, so that caused some friction", said Palatore.

Gallagher was only found guilty for posing with the body, which is in violation of the Army's code of conduct.

Gallagher was convicted for posing for a picture with the dead body, which could carry a maximum sentence of four months. Scott said he asphyxiated the teen after Gallagher had stabbed him to save him from his Iraqi captors.

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Gallagher, who did not testify in his own defense, insisted his accusers were disgruntled subordinates with no prior battlefield experience and had fabricated allegations against him over grievances with his leadership style and tactics. "I wanted to save him from waking up to what had happened next".

"It was shocking, but this whole thing has been shocking", Gallagher said.

Gallagher had previously served nine months in prison awaiting trial but was released ahead of trial proceedings at the end of May as the judge attempted to rectify alleged prosecutorial misconduct which included the unauthorized tracking of the defense's emails.

Mr Scott was granted immunity from being prosecuted for criminal charges before he testified. As a primary prosecution witness, it was expected that Scott would corroborate the allegation that Gallagher killed the ISIS militant.

The prosecutor did not seek any additional confinement for Gallagher, instead asking for a demotion "from E7 down to E6", Walsh tweeted.

The Navy is still pursuing the case against Portier, defense lawyer Jeremiah J. Sullivan III said. Gallagher has already served that time, and more.

On March 30, President Donald Trump ordered Gallagher transferred to "less restrictive confinement" following complaints from his supporters.

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