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Trump congratulates Navy SEAL for acquittal on war crimes charges: ‘Glad I could help!’

Yahoo! News logo Yahoo! News 7/3/2019 Casey Darnell

Donald Trump et al. wearing a hat: Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher; his wife, Andrea Gallagher, and President Donald Trump © Provided by Oath Inc. Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher; his wife, Andrea Gallagher, and President Donald Trump President Trump on Wednesday praised a Navy SEAL who was acquitted of committing war crimes in the killing of a wounded ISIS captive in Mosul, Iraq.

“Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “You have been through much together. Glad I could help!”

A jury of seven soldiers found Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher not guilty on Tuesday of charges that included killing unarmed civilians. Gallagher was found guilty of wrongfully posing with the corpse of the 12-year-old ISIS fighter, a charge that carries a maximum prison sentence of four months.

Trump’s tweet came after a Wednesday interview on “Fox & Friends” during which Gallagher thanked Trump, Fox News and two congressmen for their support during his trial. The president had previously considered pardoning Gallagher if he was found guilty.

“They tried to frame me as a criminal from the get-go, but we knew the truth the whole time,” Gallagher told Fox News. “We knew I was innocent of these charges the whole time and I overcame it by having my strong wife with me the whole time.”

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Video by Reuters

Two Navy SEALs in Gallagher’s unit testified that they saw Gallagher stab the fighter, but one changed his story on the stand by saying he, and not Gallagher, caused the victim’s death by suffocating him. Gallagher’s attorney said outside court on Tuesday that he would likely go home Wednesday because he has already served time in pretrial detention.

Trump demanded in March that Gallagher be set free from a military brig and placed in confinement at a Navy base. The judge presiding over the case released Gallagher from custody altogether in May.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., one of the congressmen Gallagher thanked on Wednesday, previously advocated for pardoning Gallagher and admitted to taking a photo with a dead combatant during his time as a Marine.

Gallagher is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday for the charge of posing for a photo with a casualty. Gallagher’s lawyer told Fox News that he expects Gallagher to be released Wednesday because he spent more time in pretrial detention than the length of the maximum sentence.

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