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Chief Of Naval Operations Takes Over Gallagher SEAL Case

Adm. John Richardson is chief of naval operations for the U.S. Navy.

Credit: Image provided, US Navy

Above: Adm. John Richardson is chief of naval operations for the U.S. Navy.

The head of the Navy announced he is taking over the war crimes case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral John Richardson, made the announcement days after Richardson dismissed the charges against Gallagher’s commander, Lt. Jake Portier. The CNO then ordered prosecutors to take no action against a key prosecution witness, Medic Corey Scott, who said on the stand that he, not Gallagher, killed the young Iraqi prisoner in their custody in 2017 while their SEAL team was in Iraq.

Listen to this story by Steve Walsh.

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On July 3, a military jury in San Diego found Gallagher guilty of only a single war-crime charge of posing with a corpse on the battlefield. He was given the maximum four-month sentence and reduced in rank.

The convening authority in the case has 120 days from his sentencing to confirm whether to uphold that sentence. His case had been in the hands of the Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar, the head Navy Region Southwest.

RELATED: Jury Finds Navy SEAL Not Guilty Of Murdering Islamic State Prisoner

Though Gallagher has served enough time in the brig to cover the four-month sentence, he is set to retire from the Navy. Any reduction in rank would impact his military pension.

The CNO is also allowing 60 days for a Navy-wide review of the last 4 years of the Judge Advocate General’s office. All of these actions come after President Donald Trump intervened several times on Twitter in support of Gallagher and his legal team.


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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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