Trump moves to rescind medals awarded to Eddie Gallagher prosecutors

Prosecution rests in SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s military murder trial
Courtesy Andrea Gallagher
Edward Gallagher is accused of stabbing a wounded teenage ISIS fighter in the neck in Mosul in May 2017. A Navy judge has removed the lead prosecutor in the case against a Navy SEAL charged with murdering a wounded person and shooting at noncombatants in Iraq, citing potential conflicts of interest over the prosecutor's decision to use an email tracker in corresponding with the defense team.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered top Navy officials to rescind medals awarded to the prosecutors who unsuccessfully tried Navy SEAL team leader Eddie Gallagher for murder.

Trump, who has previously sided with Gallagher, slammed the prosecutors for “giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion” in the course of the case and for having “difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers.” The President said the Navy lawyers had been “ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal.”

“I have directed the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>& Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to immediately withdraw and rescind the awards,” Trump tweeted./ppThe President’s criticisms appeared to stem from prosecutors’ decision to give immunity to a key witness in the case who testified that he — not Gallagher — had killed the ISIS captive, as well as the former lead prosecutor’s improper use of email software in emails to defense lawyers. That prosecutor was removed from the case./ppIt was not immediately clear when the Navy prosecutors received the medals and whether they had been awarded in connection with the trial against Gallagher, but Trump’s order marked a rare intervention by a US President in the awarding of such commendations./ppThe Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal is typically awarded to personnel for accomplishments that do not rise to the level of the more prestigious Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, according to John Kirby, a CNN diplomatic and military analyst./pp”It is typically given to junior officers and enlisted personnel and largely applies to noteworthy administrative and/or organizational accomplishments. Discretion to award the Achievement Medal is delegated to unit commanders,” said Kirby, a retired rear admiral./ppThe Pentagon did not immediately return a request for comment./ppGallagher was found not guilty earlier in July of murdering a captive ISIS fighter and attempting to murder Iraqi civilians. A jury acquitted him of nearly all charges, but found him guilty of posing for photos with the captive’s body./ppGallagher became a cause celebre in some conservative circles and his trial soon drew Trump’s attention, with the commander in chief ordering that Gallagher be moved to “less restrictive confinement” while awaiting trail. Trump then cheered the not-guilty verdict, tweeting “congratulations” to Gallagher and his family./pp”Glad I could help!” the President tweeted./p