- Another Navy SEAL confessed to killing the prisoner of war Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is accused of murdering, but the prosecution in the latter’s war crimes court-martial is refusing to drop the murder charges.
- Legal experts told Business Insider that it’s foolish to impugn your own witness because it sends the message that the prosecution doesn’t know what it’s doing, but that is exactly what the prosecution has decided to do.
- Navy prosecutors accused Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, who confessed to the crime with testimonial immunity, of lying and told reporters that “the credibility of a witness is for the jury to decide.”
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The war crimes trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher took a shocking turn Thursday as a former comrade confessed to killing the prisoner of war Gallagher is accused of murdering. But Navy prosecutors are still going after the defendant for murder.
Prosecution witness Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, who testified Thursday under granted immunity, unexpectedly revealed that although Gallagher stabbed the captured militant in the neck, that was not what killed the teenage prisoner. The SEAL medic said that he was responsible for the boy’s death.
He said that he put his hand over the tracheal tube and suffocated the prisoner. “I wanted to save him from waking up to what had happened next,” Scott said, telling the court that he was sparing the boy, who claimed he had been forced to join ISIS by his father, from torture and death at the hands of the Iraqi forces.
Despite Scott’s shocking testimony, the prosecution is moving ahead with its plans and is refusing to drop the murder charges against Gallagher, who stands accused of not only stabbing a prisoner of war to death but also shooting innocent civilians with a sniper rifle. “The credibility of a witness is for the jury to decide,” a Navy spokesman speaking on behalf of the prosecution told CBS News.
Gary Solis, a former Marine Judge Advocate General, told INSIDER Thursday that it would be foolish for the prosecution to move forward with murder charges.
“They would have to impugn their own witness,” he said, “That’s not a good idea. If you’re a prosecutor, and you start to impugn your own witnesses, that sends the message to the jury that you don’t know what you’re doing. They’re not going to want to do that, I don’t think. I don’t think they would be that foolish.”
The prosecution, in a tight spot due to the sudden change in Scott’s story, accused its own witness of lying, noting that his testimony was decidedly different from the version he had presented previously.
“We’ve been patiently waiting for the truth to come out and we’ve heard from a lot of people who are intent and have colluded for over two years to take down my husband, so to hear today that someone finally had the bravery to stand up for the truth was refreshing after all of these years,” Andrea Gallagher, the defendant’s wife, said at a press conference Thursday.
Timothy Parlatore, Gallagher’s lawyer, said that he expects a “not guilty” verdict in this trial.