Prosecutors in Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher murder case lose their medals after President Trump tweets
Erika I. Ritchie
The Orange County Register
Seven Navy and Marine Achievement medals and three commendations issued to prosecutors involved in the court-martial against Navy SEAL Edward “Eddie” Gallagher were rescinded by order of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer late Wednesday, military officials confirmed hours after President Donald Trump tweeted he had directed they be withdrawn.
“The secretary of the Navy revoked 10 items,” said Lt. Ben Anderson, a Navy spokesman. He did not know the time frame of the decision.
Earlier on Wednesday, President Donald Trump sent out a string of Tweets, starting with: “The prosecutors who lost the case against SEAL Eddie Gallagher (who I released from solitary confinement so he could fight his case properly), were ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal.”
He said he “directed the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer & Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to immediately withdraw and rescind the awards.”
The awards had been given to the various members of the prosecution team in a ceremony on July 10 at Naval Base San Diego – less than a week after the court-martial ended.
The awards acknowledged performance by the team related to the trial preparation and included efforts such as sailors making personal sacrifices and some working outside their military specialty, Navy officials said.
Lt. Brian John, who led the prosecution against Gallagher, was praised for his “brilliant legal acumen,” according to a report by the online military publication Task & Purpose.
He jumped into the trial with just a few weeks of preparation after the previous lead prosecutor was removed by the judge.
On July 2, Gallagher was found not guilty for the premeditated murder of a teen ISIS fighter and five other alleged war crimes during a 2017 deployment to Iraq. He was convicted for posing with the corpse of the teen. Gallagher was given the maximum sentence of four months’ confinement for the offense, but served no jail time because of previous time served after his Sept. 11 arrest at Camp Pendleton.
The jury called for a reduction in his rank, which will impact his pay and benefits. The Navy Region Southwest, which acts as the convening authority for the court-martial, has 120 days to implement the final sentencing. His lawyers are fighting efforts to reduce his rank.
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