Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher, who faces allegations of war crimes during his deployment to Iraq, was moved to less restrictive detention and was able to meet with his family after President Donald Trump took an interest in his case, according to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).
Gallagher was held in a high-security brig in San Diego since September and in October was charged with several war crimes, including stabbing and killing a wounded ISIS fighter, who was about 15-17 years old, shooting two Iraqi civilians, and impeding the investigation of his actions.
He has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers have said he did not murder anyone and that disgruntled SEALs made the accusations because they wanted to get rid of a demanding platoon leader.
The allegations, probed by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), were largely contradicted by two high-ranking Iraqi military officers, according to transcripts of their interviews with NCIS obtained by Navy Times.
Hunter, who has advocated for better treatment of Gallagher, said he met with the decorated soldier on March 31 at the Marine Corps Air Base in San Diego.
“He’s now in a barracks, he can walk around the base, he can go to the gym, he can see his wife and his kids, he can use the telephone, he can go hit golf balls, go to the Denny’s [restaurant at the base],” Hunter told Fox News Radio’s “Brian Kilmeade Show.”
Dear Mr. President, It is with our deepest gratitude that we write to you today.••On Saturday March 30, 2019 our…
“When I saw him, he was kind of out of it,” Hunter added. “Imagine being in a jail and being treated pretty harshly with a bunch of bad people, sex offender type of people, and now you’re out. He was just extremely happy to be out.”
Trump wrote on Twitter on March 30 that “in honor of his past service to our Country, Navy Seal #EddieGallagher will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court. Process should move quickly!”
In honor of his past service to our Country, Navy Seal #EddieGallagher will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court. Process should move quickly! @foxandfriends @RepRalphNorman
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2019
A military judge last month postponed Gallagher’s trial by three months after defense lawyers asked for more time to go over the prosecution’s evidence. The trial was reset for May 28.
To our FAITHFUL Supporters who have been WITH us and FOR us through this entire nightmare – THANK YOU 😘 From the bottom of our hearts for showing our family so much love and kindness ❤️••Your messages, prayers, and support have not gone unnoticed ~ especially in these last few days ☺️••For anyone out there that’s been condemning my Husband based on these shameful FALSE allegations and operating on a steady diet of #FAKENEWS put out by the prosecution to intentionally mislead and contaminate the jury pool & vilify an INNOCENT man in the process- we are 5️⃣7️⃣ Days out from the truth setting us FREE 🇺🇸🙏🏻 ••In AMERICA we are afforded certain unalienable rights by our constitution and one of those is the presumption of INNOCENCE UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY 💯••Our day in court is coming – May 28th and just remember those who pass judgement will also be judged with that same measure ❤️ #truth #treatothershowyouwanttobetreated ••#FREEEDDIE
Posted by Free Eddie Gallagher – Navy SEAL Chief on Monday, April 1, 2019
Lawmakers Voice Support
On March 18, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and 17 other Republican members of the House sent a letter (pdf) to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, raising concerns about the conditions of Gallagher’s confinement at the Navy brig in California.
Crenshaw is a retired Navy SEAL who lost sight in his right eye after being hit by an improvised explosive in Afghanistan.
In the letter, the House members said Gallagher’s family and friends reported that he had not had sufficient access to his defense attorneys. They also said they got reports he was not receiving enough food or adequate medical care.
🇺🇸 Update from Eddie’s Wife 🇺🇸 ••It has been a whirlwind since Eddie was released from the brig on 3/30 and we wanted…
“Chief Gallagher is a decorated warfighter who, like all service members, is entitled to the presumption of innocence while awaiting court-martial,” the letter said.
“We therefore request that you review the underlying reasons for co-locating pretrial and post-trial confinees at Consolidated Brig Miramar and whether the current arrangement fundamentally disadvantages Chief Gallagher and other pre-trial service members. Furthermore, we request that you consider whether other locations are more appropriate for pretrial confinement,” read the letter.
Gallagher, an Indiana man, has served in the Navy for 19 years including eight combat tours earning three awards for valor. He was promoted to chief on Nov. 16, 2015, according to Navy Times.
My husband sits in jail based on asinine allegations for 7 MONTHS – 💥BEFORE💥 he gets his day in court to actually defend…
The Associated Press contributed to this report