SAN DIEGO — Navy officials on Wednesday notified a SEAL convicted of posing with a dead Islamic State militant and three of his superior officers during a 2017 deployment to Iraq that all four will face a review to determine if they should remain on the elite force.
Attorneys for Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher said the Navy is trying to remove his Trident pin, designating him as a SEAL, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s decision last week to restore his rank.
Gallagher was acquitted last summer of a murder charge in the stabbing death of the militant captive, but a military jury convicted him of posing with the corpse while in Iraq in 2017. He also was acquitted of attempted murder for allegedly shooting at civilians.
His lawyers said Wednesday they have filed a complaint with the inspector general’s accusing Rear Adm. Collin Green of insubordination for defying Trump’s actions and asking for an investigation into the Navy’s handling of the Gallagher’s case. Green is the Naval Special Warfare commander.
It was the latest twist in what has been a tumultuous case that has shaken the secretive SEAL community and revealed rifts within its ranks after SEALs testified against one of their own. The case was dogged from the start with the Navy’s lead prosecutor being removed in the middle of the court-martial after it was discovered the prosecution was tracking the defense team’s emails.
Trump restored Gallagher’s rank on Friday after he was demoted from chief following his conviction. “What the bureaucracy is doing to him now is pure and simple retaliation,” said Marc Mukasey, one of Gallagher’s lawyers.