SAN DIEGO -- The first week of the trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher revealed shocking testimony that gave new hope to the defense team -- and to Gallagher's family.
Prosecution witness Special Warfare Operator Corey Scott surprised the courtroom Thursday by testifying that he killed the wounded ISIS fighter that Gallagher is accused of killing. Defense Attorney Tim Parlatore told FOX 5 later that he had a hunch while listening to Scott during direct examination.
“When he answered the prosecutor’s questions and he actually said, ‘And I watched him asphyxiate,’ that’s a unique word to use, especially for a medic. That’s when I knew I can go and I can ask him this question,” Parlatore said.
Parlatore asked Scott directly about the ISIS fighter’s cause of death, and that’s when the Navy SEAL medic testified that he put his thumb over the fighter’s breathing tube, causing him to die of asphyxiation. Gallagher’s wife, Andrea, said the revelation was unexpected.
“We were shocked to hear that on the stand,” Gallagher said. “It was just really almost kind of a surreal moment for all of us.”
The prosecution argued Scott lied about killing the ISIS fighter in order to keep Gallagher from going to jail.
Andrea Gallagher said the case has been hard on her family. “Our children have suffered,” she told FOX 5. “I have suffered just knowing what my husband is going through. It’s horrific.”
Gallagher is accused of several war crimes, including stabbing and killing a wounded ISIS fighter, shooting at civilians and discouraging his fellow teammates from coming forward about the incidents. He maintains his innocence.
“You see these headlines that say, ‘Navy SEAL accused of war crimes…’ that’s my brother,” Sean Gallagher told FOX 5 Saturday. “That’s someone who joined the Navy right out of high school, who has called us on every deployment, who’s raised his kids sometimes through Skype while at a forward operating base in Afghanistan or Iraq. This is someone who served his country. This is a dedicated father, a ridiculously dedicated husband. He’s an incredible person.”
The trial is scheduled to continue on Monday.