A U.S. Navy SEAL officer charged with war crimes in Iraq who Donald Trump is considering pardoning has been allowed to see his wife.
Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is charged with killing a wounded Islamic State prisoner under his care in Iraq in 2017.
He is currently being held in a California prison amid accusations he repeatedly plunged a knife into the wounded body of a young ISIS fighter and fired sniper rounds at innocent civilians in Iraq.
Navy Seal Edward Gallagher, who was charged with war crimes has been allowed to see his with his wife Andrea for a second time. They are pictured here together in an undated photo
After being reunited with his wife Andrea and children for the first time since his arrest in 2017, he he was allowed to spend more time with his wife
He was reunited with Andrea and their children for the first time since his arrest in 2017, according to an undated photos provided by his legal team.
It comes amid reports that Trump has requested the paperwork needed for pardons, suggesting that the final announcements could come on Memorial Day. Trump and his family will be in Japan over the holiday, which falls on Monday.
Dozens of Republican congressmen have championed Gallagher’s cause, claiming he’s an innocent war hero being unfairly prosecuted.
Trump got him moved from the brig to better confinement in a military hospital with access to his lawyers and family.
Gallagher was a highly lauded special warfare operator who has racked up numerous awards during his eight tours of duty.
Trump said on Friday he was considering pardons for ‘two or three’ American soldiers charged with war crimes, including Gallagher.
He accepted the move would be controversial but justified because they had been treated ‘unfairly.’
‘Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long. You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight sometime, they get really treated very unfairly,’ Trump said.
He did not identify which cases he was reviewing.
The New York Times on May 18 reported Trump had asked the Justice Department for paperwork on several high-profile war crimes cases in preparation for possible pardons to be announced on or around the U.S. Memorial Day holiday honoring fallen troops. This year’s holiday is to be observed on Sunday.
Trump said on Friday he was considering pardons for ‘two or three’ American soldiers charged with war crimes including Gallagher (pictured)
Gallagher is currently being held in a California prison amid accusations he repeatedly plunged a knife into the wounded body of an ISIS fighter and shot at innocent civilians
Gallagher, 39, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Defense lawyers say the allegations against him were fabricated by subordinate SEAL team members disgruntled with his leadership style and seeking to force him out.
Gallagher’s trial was delayed this week until June 10 at the earliest. His lawyer told Reuters he had not asked for a pardon, and Gallagher declined to comment on the possibility of presidential clemency when asked by reporters in court.
The prospect of Trump offering Gallagher a pardon seemed heightened by this week’s appointment to his defense team of former federal prosecutor Marc Mukasey, one of Trump’s personal lawyers and an associate of fellow Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.
In March, Trump got Gallagher moved from the brig to better confinement in a military hospital in San Diego with access to his lawyers and family
Gallagher was reunited with his family for the first time in April since his arrest in 2017
Another Giuliani associate, ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik – who served three years in prison in a federal corruption case – is an investigator on Gallagher’s defense team.
Mukasey, in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, dismissed the notion of seeking a pardon for Gallagher.
‘I have a job to do in the courtroom. I have no clue whether anything else is going on,’ he said.
Gallagher’s wife denied any suggestion of impropriety over a lawyer for the commander-in-chief joining her husband’s court-martial defense.
‘There is no direct conflict in my mind,’ she told Reuters on Friday. ‘Marc Mukasey has not talked to the president.
Trump first weighed in on the Gallagher case publicly in March, ordering the defendant moved to less restrictive pre-trial confinement ‘in honor of his past service to our country’
Gallagher was a highly lauded special warfare operator who has racked up numerous awards during his eight tours of duty prior to his arrest
‘The president has not talked to him. So I think that this insinuation that a lawyer representing one individual that’s also representing another is actually just stringing together a conspiracy that’s non-existent.’
Gallagher’s lead civilian attorney, Timothy Parlatore, told reporters on Wednesday following a hearing at Naval Base San Diego: ‘If the president decides to step in, that’s what the commander does.’
Trump first weighed in on the Gallagher case publicly in March, ordering the defendant moved to less restrictive pre-trial confinement ‘in honor of his past service to our country.’
Gary Solis claimed Trump dishonors all military members who do adhere to the laws of war by considering pardons for serviceman who have defied orders
A number of conservative commentators have urged him to pardon Gallagher.
Critics say it would preempt justice, undermine military discipline and send a message that battlefield atrocities will be tolerated.
Many veterans have been angered by reports that Trump intends to pardon alleged war criminals on Memorial Day, which is when they are honored by the country.
Gary Solis, a former military judge, prosecutor and Marine, told Quartz: ‘He is a serial draft evader who wants to play general. This just exhibits the president’s ignorance.’
Solis claimed that Trump dishonors all military members who do adhere to the laws of war by considering pardons for serviceman who have defied orders.
‘The president’s move disregards civilian law, too, as every military offense under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice is also a federal crime, Solis notes.
Since the president is responsible for signing amendments that implement and improve the military code, and Trump has signed two already, he’ll also be undermining his own handiwork, the former marine points out.