LOS ANGELES — Military prosecutors in the case of a Navy SEAL charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 installed tracking software in emails sent to defense lawyers and a reporter in an attempt to discover who was leaking information to the news media, according to lawyers who received the corrupted messages.
The defense attorneys told The Associated Press the intrusion may have violated constitutional protections against illegal searches, guarantees of lawyer-client privilege and freedom of the press, and may constitute prosecutorial misconduct.
“I’ve seen some crazy stuff but for a case like this it’s complete insanity,” said attorney Timothy Parlatore. “I was absolutely stunned.”
Parlatore represents Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who has pleaded not guilty to a murder count for allegedly stabbing to death an injured teenage militant in 2017 in Iraq. Gallagher’s platoon commander, Lt. Jacob Portier, is fighting charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly conducting Gallagher’s re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse.
The case against Gallagher, a decorated SEAL, has attracted the attention of congressional Republicans who have called for prosecutors to drop the case. And President Donald Trump tweeted in March that Gallagher was being transferred to less restrictive confinement to honor “his past service to our country.”