Prosecution Rests in Trial for Navy SEAL Accused of War Crimes

7/3/2019

The government rested its murder case against a decorated Navy SEAL on Tuesday. Prosecutors had called on seven SEALs from the platoon to testify in the court-martial at Naval Base San Diego that started a week ago, including two who said they witnessed Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stab the wounded adolescent ISIS militant in the neck in May 2017 after he was under their care in Iraq.

One witness, Corey Scott, a medic, shocked the courtroom last week after he admitted to the killing, saying he plugged the militant's breathing tube after Gallagher stabbed the boy as an act of mercy because he feared he would be tortured and possibly killed by Iraqi forces if he survived.

The defense, citing Scott's testimony and the lack of a body or other physical evidence, asked the judge to find Gallagher not guilty after the government rested its case.

The judge, Navy Captain Aaron Rugh, said the circumstances didn't meet the high standards required for such an unusual ruling and refused to find Gallagher not guilty of the charges, including murder and attempted murder. That leaves the case still in the hands of the military jury.

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