A court date has been set for the Navy SEAL accused of executing an ISIS militant with a knife in 2017.
Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, 39, will face a preliminary Article 32 hearing in San Diego on Nov. 14, his civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose on Friday.
The hearing will determine if enough evidence exists to move to court-martial.
The ISIS fighter was reportedly detained in Mosul while wounded and being treated by a SEAL team for his injuries. Gallagher is accused of then using a knife to stab the prisoner multiple times, who eventually died from the wounds.
“There are members of his unit that are making the allegation that he pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the neck and body,” Stackhouse said.
— Task & Purpose (@TaskandPurpose) October 20, 2018
Gallagher, however, maintains that the fighter succumbed to combat wounds obtained earlier, though the details of how those wounds were incurred are not yet clear.
“But what we’ve learned in our independent investigation into these allegations is that a crime simply didn’t happen,” Stackhouse noted.
He faces premeditated murder charges, as well as additional aggravated assault charges for shooting Iraqis that were deemed “non-combatants” although Gallagher insists they were combatants.
“While the burden is very, very low to send the charges to court, Chief Gallagher will, like he has on every combat deployment, fight. Fight to clear his name, fight for justice, and fight to expose the lies that are being made against him,” said Stackhouse in an email to Navy Times.
Gallagher and his team are reportedly considering a civil rights lawsuit against the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) over wrongdoing surrounding his arrest and detention.
— Navy Times (@NavyTimes) October 20, 2018
He was arrested on Sept. 11 at the Camp Pendleton Intrepid Spirit Center where he was receiving treatment for head injuries incurred from his overseas combat duty. Authorities then detained him in the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego.
“My husband was receiving holistic care and treatment from a program we waited a year to get into and was ripped out without warning – shackled like a common criminal, and held in solitary confinement for 72 hours. He has now been in jail for nearly six weeks of pretrial confinement,” said Andrea Gallagher, Gallagher’s wife.
“They held Chief Gallagher at NCIS, while they knew his wife was at work,” Stackhouse said. “NCIS laid siege to the house in the morning hours ― weapons drawn — and inexplicably traumatized Chief Gallagher’s young sons by pulling them out of the house at gunpoint in their underwear.”
Gallagher has served 19 years in the Navy, 14 of which he spent as a SEAL. He holds three awards for combat valor, including two Bronze Stars and a Commendation Medal. He also holds two additional commendation medals from the Navy and Army.