Case is ‘irreparably corrupted,’ says defense team for Navy SEAL accused of war crimes

SAN DIEGO — The defense team handling the case of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes submitted a motion to dismiss Sunday, citing prosecutorial misconduct.

The motion said the case against Special Operations Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher has been “irreparably corrupted” due to alleged limitations the U.S. government has placed on his team’s access to witnesses and evidence. The motion also alleges that the government conducted surveillance on Gallagher’s defense attorneys, violating the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments in the process.

“The Government has demonstrated complete disregard for its obligations under the U.S. Constitution and has flouted the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Rules for Courts-Martial and applicable ethics rules,” the motion said. “This prosecution threatens to make an unequivocal farce of our justice system.”

Gallagher was charged after his arrest last fall with multiple violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice during his deployment to Mosul, Iraq, in 2017. The charges include stabbing and murdering a detained teenage ISIS fighter, shooting at noncombatants and obstruction of justice.

Gallagher is awaiting the start of his trial, which has been repeatedly delayed, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The most recent delay occurred last week, when attorney Timothy Parlatore said prosecutors were tracking the defense team’s emails.

In response to these and other allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, Gallagher’s defense team said in the motion to dismiss that both Gallagher and the public have lost faith in the possibility of an unbiased trial and requested that all charges against Gallagher be dropped.

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