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Witness Says He Killed Islamic State Prisoner, Not SEAL Charged With Murder

 June 20, 2019 at 10:24 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 A prosecution. Witness shocks is San Diego courtroom today in the court, Marshal of navy seal chief Edward Gallagher, a medic at the scene of the stabbing of no rocky prisoner says he's the one who actually ended the prisoner's life. Gallagher is on trial for the murder of the prisoner and attempted murder of civilians in Iraq. I spoke with KPBS military reporters, Steve Walsh this morning during a break in the trial. Steve, a prosecution witness through the court into disarray this morning. Can you tell us about that? Speaker 2: 00:31 Right, so we've been covering the trial of Eddie Gallagher's. The main charge against him is that he was accused of killing and wounded isis fighter in his custody and then posing with the body. And we've had several seals testify over the last couple of days that saw him in one way or the other. Either staff or shoots an unarmed Iraqi civilians. But we had a yes bombshell testimony this morning. This is just happening this morning. Yeah, this medic, Cory Scott has been granted testimonial immunity. In this case, he was the one of the medics who was there when Gallagher is accused of stabbing. This wounded prisoner who was with receiving medical treatment got on the stand. This is a prosecution witness mind you said that he saw Gallagher stab the prisoner in the neck in show he showed a downward motion showing that he is, there was no medical reason for this stabbing best is what he was expected to testify to. But then on the stand during cross examination by the defense counsel, Cory Scott said that it was in fact not Gallagher, but him who killed the Iraqi fighter, that they had given him a Craig, which is basically a breathing tube and that after Gallagher's stamped him that Scott had closed the airway and essentially suffocated the prisoner. Speaker 1: 01:55 So what Cory Scott is saying, if I understand this correctly, is not that Gallagher did not stab this Iraqi prisoner, but the person who actually killed the prisoner was uh, Cory Scott by this procedure that he inflicted on the prisoner. Speaker 2: 02:12 Indeed, Cory Scott says that he was the one who in fact killed the prisoner. That it was not that the blow by Gallagher, but his closing of the breathing tube that actually killed the fighter who had been still alive up until that point. Speaker 1: 02:26 And did he say it was intentional on his part? Speaker 2: 02:30 It was intentional. You said that he didn't think that uh, the wound that Gallagher had inflicted upon him would, would have killed him, but that he was afraid that the prisoner would be interrogated and ultimately tortured and killed by the Iraqis and that it would be a mercy killing. Speaker 1: 02:47 So this is why the minute didn't say this before, is there any consequence to him actually telling two stories on the witness stand? Speaker 2: 02:57 Well, prosecutors were of course just livid. They, they had interviewed Cory Scott Multiple Times, so had naval police in CIS. They've interviewed him multiple times in this case, he's one of the key witnesses in this case because he witnessed the actual stabbing. So on the stand that prosecutors were trying to explain why, asking him why. In fact, he had never said any of this prior to being on the stand. The defense made the argument that no one has specifically asked them about x fixation. Now, prosecutors came back and they said they had asked him multiple times what happens step by step in this case, so they tried to essentially impeach his credibility. Cory Scott is said, he is a friend of chief Gallagher. He had never had a problem with him, but he had a wife and family and he didn't believe that he should spend his life in prison. But nonetheless, this obviously this is like a Hollywood movie, this never happens in actual court cases that you have these revelations from the stand this way. This obviously puts the case into a certain amount of disarray for prosecutors at the moment, but all of this is happening this morning here at naval base San Diego, so the wheel is still very much in spin. Speaker 1: 04:11 How did Edward Gallagher and his team react to this revelation? Speaker 2: 04:16 Initially in court, Gallagher was fairly emotionless, but out in the hallway during this recess, he's there with his wife and in two of his kids they were hugging. They were. They seem to jubilant, they obviously see this as a real turning point in this case, Speaker 1: 04:32 you are speaking to us during a break in court proceedings. Do you have any idea what's going to happen when you go back into court? Speaker 2: 04:40 There've been so many twists and turns in this case that I was reluctant to say what would happen in this case prior to this. Now, I certainly have no idea. Obviously prosecutors are going to make the case that their key witness has become far less responsive, that he now has testimonial immunity, so you cannot be a tried and convicted of murder. Based on what he said in court. I'm sure they'll make the case that this is only the first time. This is coming up after literally months of witness statements and interviews by the prosecution side, but this obviously creates a, a huge wrinkle in this case. Speaker 1: 05:13 I've been speaking with KPBS military reporter, Steve Walsh. She will continue reporting on this court case. Thank you so much, Steve. Speaker 2: 05:20 Thanks Marie. Speaker 3: 05:22 [inaudible].

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A Navy SEAL called by prosecutors to testify at the murder trial of a colleague has acknowledged killing a wounded prisoner in Iraq in what he described as an act of mercy.
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