Courts martial of Navy SEAL, commander postponed

Edward R. Gallagher, a chief special warfare operator.


By ANDREW DYER | The San Diego Union-Tribune | Published: February 13, 2019

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — The trial of a Navy SEAL charged with war crimes in Iraq, which was scheduled to begin next week, has been delayed until late spring, a Navy spokesman said Wednesday.

Edward R. Gallagher, 39, a chief special warfare operator, faces charges of premeditated murder, aggravated assault and shooting at civilians during an Iraq deployment in 2017.

His defense team Wednesday asked for a continuation until May 28, said Brian O'Rourke, a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest.

Gallagher was in court Tuesday for a motions hearing.

Some members of his platoon have told Navy investigators they saw the SEAL stab a wounded ISIS fighter in the neck while the fighter was receiving medical treatment. The fighter died and Gallagher is accused of posing for photos with the body and holding a reenlistment ceremony near the body.

Gallagher has denied the allegations.

Gallagher's commander, Lt. Jacob Portier, also faces charges related to the incident with the ISIS fighter’s body.

A hearing in his court martial, scheduled for Friday, also was delayed at the request of his defense team. A new date has not been scheduled, O'Rourke said.

Portier faces charges that he was made aware of complaints against Gallagher but did not report them. He also has been charged with conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly conducting Gallagher’s reenlistment ceremony near the Iraqi fighter’s body.

Portier has denied the allegations.

Gallagher’s case has attracted national news coverage and the attention of conservative talk show hosts. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, asked President Donald Trump to remove the case from the Navy and dismiss the charges.

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