Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL who was acquitted on Tuesday of killing an ISIS captive, will not serve any additional time after posing in a photo with a corpse and then posting it on Facebook. The jury reduced Gallagher’s rank by one grade to petty officer 1st class and ordered his monthly pay cut by $2,697 for four months.
The military jury that acquitted him had recommended a sentence of four months, forfeiting pay for four months and a demotion of rank to petty officer first class. The judge on Wednesday modified the sentence, capping the pay cut at two months and giving Gallagher 60 days’ credit for being held in overly harsh conditions before being tried and being deprived of treatment for a traumatic brain injury.Gallagher also got credit for 201 days of pretrial confinement. Gallagher turned to his wife, shook his head and pretended to unpin his “anchors” — the insignia of a chief — and fling them across the courtroom. He then smiled and hugged her.
The sentence will not go into effect until it is approved by the commanding officer overseeing the court-martial.Gallagher told CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV he felt “fine” after the verdict. “It’s alright, you know, the jury came to the verdict and I trust them,” he said.Earlier, Gallagher addressed the jury that had acquitted him Tuesday of murder, attempted murder and other counts stemming from an incident during a 2017 deployment to Iraq. “I put a black eye on the two communities that I love — the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy — specifically the SEAL community,” he said.He said he tried to lead by example but didn’t always succeed.”I’ve made mistakes throughout my 20-year career — tactical, ethical, moral — I’m not perfect but I’ve always bounced back from my mistakes. I’m ready to bounce back from this,” he said. A Navy prosecutor had asked only for a reduction in rank, not confinement. The defense recommended no punishment. Gallagher told the jury he was fully responsible for his actions on the day he took photos with the body of the 17-year-old militant.One image shows him clutching the hair of the corpse with one hand and holding a knife in another.