The Latest: Witness could face perjury in Navy SEAL trial
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):
Officials have informed a Navy SEAL witness that he could face a perjury charge after he testified that he — and not Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher— had killed an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq.
In an email sent Tuesday to a lawyer for Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, the Navy said it was considering charging Scott with lying under oath during Gallagher’s court-martial.
The email was sent by Navy Capt. Donald King, a lawyer for the senior commander who convened the war crimes proceedings.
It says Scott “testified directly contrary to previous official statements — thus exposing him to prosecution.”
Scott’s lawyer, Brian Ferguson, forwarded King’s email to The Associated Press, but did not immediately comment on its contents.
Scott shocked the courtroom last week when he said that he — not Gallagher — killed the prisoner.
A Navy officer testified that a SEAL team member told him in October 2017 that his platoon chief had stabbed an Islamic State prisoner during their deployment to Iraq in May of that year.
Master Chief Petty Officer Brian Alazzawi (ah-la-ZA-wee) said Wednesday that the alleged war crime wasn’t reported up the chain of command until January 2018 — when he got word that several SEALs had planned to go as high as the Navy commodore over the matter because nothing was being done.
Alazzawi took the stand for the defense in the court-martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who’s accused of killing the prisoner.
Alazzawi said Craig Miller was “very emotional” when he reported the stabbing.
Alazzawi said he found Gallagher to be a solid tactical leader, but he also found the allegation made by Miller to be credible.
Defense attorneys for a Navy SEAL accused of killing a wounded prisoner in Iraq say the Navy has indicated to them that fellow SEALs who had taken the stand could be prosecuted for earlier acts despite being granted immunity.
Defense attorney Timothy Parlatore told the judge Wednesday that he had received an email from the convening authority — the Navy’s chain of command — stating that SEALs who testified at the court martial of Chief Edward Gallagher could face prosecution if they had given false official statements to investigators.
One witness, Corey Scott, a medic, shocked the courtroom last week when he said that he — not Gallagher — killed the militant.
The judge, Navy Capt. Aaron Rugh, said those who had testified could only be prosecuted if they lied on the witness stand, and not for their previous statements.
A retired Marine and an active duty Marine testified for the defense Wednesday, describing Gallagher as a solid warrior.
This item has been corrected to reflect that the email came from the Navy’s chain of command, not prosecutors.
Defense lawyers will go on the offensive in the murder trial of a Navy SEAL accused of killing a wounded young Islamic State prisoner in Iraq.
Attorneys for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher plan Wednesday to bring in testimony to bolster their contention that Gallagher is being unfairly accused of murder and attempted murder.
Prosecutors, who rested their case on Tuesday, contend that Gallagher fatally stabbed the captive in the neck without provocation and also shot at two civilians. He’s pleaded not guilty.
Gallagher’s lawyers have argued that former colleagues of Gallagher who testified for the prosecution provided either tainted or outright phony statements.
The defense asked the judge Tuesday to summarily find Gallagher not guilty but that request was rejected.