The U.S. Navy’s top officer will uphold the punishment for a SEAL who posed for a picture next to the body of a dead ISIS fighter.
Former Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher of San Diego was sentenced to four months of confinement and loss of rank. He was convicted on one charge of taking the pic.
“After careful consideration as the convening authority, Adm. [Mike] Gilday decided to uphold the sentence as adjudged by a jury of Gallagher’s peers but disapproved the automatic reduction in rate to E-1,” Navy Cmdr. Nate Christensen said.
Chief petty officers in the Navy have achieved the rank of E-7, usually after years of time in service, time in grade, and coursework.
Instead, Gallagher will be reduced to E-6, which his attorney, said would cost him $200,000 upon retirement.
Gallagher was charged with several war crimes, including shooting civilians in Iraq and murdering a wounded Islamic State fighter in 2017.
However, a jury of mostly Marine combat veterans only convicted him on the photo charge.
The case was marked by leaks as well as accusation the the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) sent email trackers to Gallagher’s defense lawyers as well as a reporter in the weeks leading up to his trial.
In addition, a key witness stated that he killed the IS fighter, not Gallagher.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said the case proves that the military justice system is “completely broken and desperately requires a complete overhaul.”
Hunter, co-founder of Justice for Warriors Caucus, also said the ruling was “mind boggling” and requested a presidential pardon for Gallagher.