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- The Navy prosecutors who lost the case against Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher were given Navy Achievement Medals for the results, Task & Purpose reports.
- The prosecution, which suffered setback after setback including having a witness they called claim credit for the death that Gallagher was standing trial for, was commended for “exceptional witness preparation,” “expert litigation of constitutional issues,” and “superb results.”
- Gallagher’s defense attorney Timothy Parlatore told INSIDER that “every prosecutor on that team utterly failed.”
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The Navy prosecutors who failed to convict Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher of murder in a high-profile war crimes trial were awarded medals for their “superb results,” Task & Purpose reported Tuesday, citing legal filings.
Gallagher was charged with stabbing a prisoner of war to death in Iraq, as well as shooting civilians with a sniper rifle. One week after he was cleared of murder charges, the Navy’s Region Legal Service Office in San Diego held a ceremony honoring the prosecutors.
The prosecution received Navy Achievement Medals celebrating the US government team’s “exceptional witness preparation,” “expert litigation of constitutional issues,” and “superb results,” according to a motion filed by the attorneys representing Lt. Jacob Portier, Gallagher’s former platoon commander, T&P reported.
The Navy did not dispute T&P’s findings.
Portier is expected to stand trial in early September on serious charges of failing to report a war crime, destroying evidence, and impeding an investigation into Gallagher.
The only thing Gallagher was found guilty of was taking a photo with the dead body of a detainee, which was the only hard evidence the prosecution had in the recent war crimes trial.
During the course of the Gallagher trial, the prosecution suffered a tremendous setback when witness Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, who testified with immunity, confessed to murdering the prisoner of war that Gallagher was accused of killing, forcing the prosecution to impugn their own witness.
Prior to the trial, the lead prosecutor was removed from the case over allegations the prosecution illegally spied on the defense team and a journalist covering the trial. Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak, according to one of Gallagher’s lawyers, continues to serve as a prosecutor.
“Every prosecutor on that team utterly failed to properly prepare this case, to properly research this case, and to properly advise their superiors on the proper disposition of this case,” Gallagher’s civilian defense attorney Timothy Parlatore told INSIDER.
“The JAG Corps has utterly failed to hold themselves accountable for their incredible failures,” he added.
Parlatore was critical of the Navy for failing to award the two military defense attorneys – Maj. Nelson Candelario and Lt. Gregory Gianoni – who defended Gallagher, while celebrating those who lost the case.
The motion filed by Portier’s attorney and obtained by Task & Purpose called attention to the appearance of Capt. Aaron Rugh, the judge who oversaw Gallagher’s trial, at the award ceremony. Portier’s defense attorney, Jay Sullivan, called the judges impartiality into question.
“Jay is right to ask the question,” Parlatore told INSIDER while acknowledging that the judge was fair in his handling of Gallagher’s trial.
INSIDER was unable to connect with Sullivan prior to publication.