The Latest: Prosecutor seeks reduced rank for Navy SEAL

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Latest on a Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in the death of a wounded war prisoner in Iraq (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

A Navy prosecutor has asked a military jury to reduce the rank of a decorated Navy SEAL for posing in photos with the body of a dead Islamic State captive in Iraq in 2017.

The move came after jurors returned to court Wednesday in San Diego to determine the punishment that Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher will face for the single conviction.

The jury on Tuesday acquitted Gallagher of murder, attempted murder and other counts.

Posing with a human casualty carries a maximum penalty of four months in confinement.

The defense asked jurors to consider that Gallagher spent 201 days in pretrial confinement and recommended no punishment.

The prosecution did not ask for jail time but said a message needs to be sent that the violation is not tolerated.

Gallagher told the jury he has learned from his mistakes.

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9:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump appeared to suggest that he had intervened in the case of a decorated Navy SEAL accused of war crimes who was found not guilty of murder.

Edward Gallagher was acquitted Tuesday of murder in the killing of a wounded Islamic State captive under his care in Iraq in 2017.

Trump tweeted his congratulations to Gallagher, “his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family” family Wednesday. “You have been through much together,” he wrote. “Glad I could help!”

The White House did not immediately explain what the president was referencing. But Trump had Gallagher moved to more favorable confinement at a Navy hospital this spring and was reportedly considering a pardon for him.

Trump lawyer Marc Mukasey, who is a close associate of Trump confidante Rudy Giuliani, served as Gallagher’s attorney.

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6:27 a.m.

The decorated Navy SEAL who was acquitted of murder in the killing of a wounded Islamic State captive in Iraq thanked Fox News, President Donald Trump and two congressmen for their support during his trial.

Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher also told Fox & Friends on Wednesday he feels “blessed to have the support that I had this whole time from the country and from the troops.”

Asked what his message might be to future Navy SEALS, Gallagher said “loyalty is a trait that seems to be lost.”

The same military jurors who acquitted Gallagher Tuesday will now deliberate his punishment for the single charge on which he was convicted: posing with the militant’s corpse.

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Melley contributed from Los Angeles.

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