The Latest: Defense asks judge to find Navy SEAL not guilty
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a decorated Navy SEAL charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in his care (all times local):
Prosecutors have rested their case against a decorated Navy SEAL charged with murder, and the defense has asked the judge to find him not guilty.
The judge took a recess Tuesday to consider the request of attorneys for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who has pleaded not guilty in San Diego to killing a wounded prisoner in Iraq and shooting at civilians.
A defense attorney argued that the case rests on tainted testimony from fellow SEALs who hated Gallagher.
The final prosecution witness connected Gallagher to photos he texted friends in May 2017 showing him holding the dead militant by the hair and clutching a knife in his other hand.
The computer specialist also linked Gallagher to a text message sent to friends that bragged: “Got him with my hunting knife.”
A lawyer for a decorated Navy SEAL charged with war crimes accused the lead investigator of prejudging the case before he gathered evidence.
Attorney Marc Mukasey said Tuesday that a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service violated standard practices while investigating Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher.
Mukasey says Joseph Warpinski befriended witnesses and encouraged them to speak with each other.
Warpinski denied in testimony in San Diego that he became friends with witnesses.
He says he made some mistakes in his investigation but was trying to build rapport with members of the insular special forces community.
Gallagher is accused of stabbing to death a captive Islamic State fighter he was treating for battle wounds. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges.
Defense lawyers for a decorated Navy SEAL charged with war crimes are expected to grill the lead investigator in the case.
Gallagher’s lawyers contend that Joseph Warpinski, a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, helped create a “false narrative” against his client by using phony information from frightened witnesses or inaccurately reporting what they said.
Warpinksi was scheduled to resume the witness stand Tuesday in the San Diego court-martial of Gallagher, who’s pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder.
Fellow SEALs have testified that he stabbed an Islamic State fighter and wounded two civilians in Iraq. But a SEAL who said he saw Gallagher stab the prisoner said he actually killed the boy to spare him later torture and lingering death by Iraqi forces.