Navy SEAL to remain in custody during murder trial

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A Navy SEAL will be arraigned in San Diego on Friday after being charged with alleged violations of military law during his deployment to the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2017. (CNN Wire)

SAN DIEGO — A decorated Navy SEAL facing a court-martial for allegedly stabbing a teenage ISIS prisoner to death in Iraq and shooting at Iraqi civilians will remain in custody at the brig at Miramar during his trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher — a 19-year Navy veteran — is charged with premeditated murder and aggravated assault. He faces life in prison if convicted at a trial set to begin on Feb. 19.

Gallagher’s defense team asked a judge last week to release the defendant from pretrial confinement, but that request was denied Thursday, according to Navy spokesman Brian O’Rourke.

“We are disappointed, but nor surprised due to the low legal burden, by the Government refusing to put a witness on the stand, and the defense being denied the right to call any witnesses to the allegations,” Gallagher’s attorney, Phil Stackhouse, said in a statement.

During an Article 32 hearing in November, Navy prosecutors accused Gallagher of killing an injured ISIS fighter who they estimate was about 15 years old. The fatal stabbing happened in Mosul. Iraq, in May 2017.

Rear Adm. Yancey Lindsey, commander of Navy Region Southwest, reviewed the evidence presented at the Article 32 hearing and determined that Gallagher should face court-martial.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that they said shows Gallagher tried to bribe fellow SEALs not to talk about the incident to NCIS investigators.

Stackhouse, said his client should be judged by a military jury of his peers because of the nature of the allegations in a combat zone.

Disgruntled SEALs made the allegations against Gallagher, his attorney said.

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