Navy commando accused of war crimes faces expulsion from SEALs after Trump restored rank

The military has launched proceedings to expel commando Edward Gallagher from the Navy SEALs – who faced court-martial for war crimes earlier this year – even after President Trump restored his rank in a recent clemency order.

A review hearing scheduled for early December will determine whether Gallagher will continue to be a SEAL, Navy Captain Tamara Lawrence told Reuters. The commando’s own lawyer also confirmed he had been served with a notice informing him of the upcoming hearing.

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U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher leaves courtroom during his court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California , U.S., July 2, 2019. © REUTERS/John Gastaldo
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While Gallagher was indicted for stabbing a wounded enemy prisoner and shooting civilians during his combat tour in Iraq in 2017, he was cleared on six of seven charges when his court-martial concluded in July – only found guilty of posing for a photo with a corpse. Avoiding any additional jail time after already serving nine months while on trial, his judge decided only to demote him to the rank of Petty Officer First Class.

However, last week, President Trump reversed that move, restoring Gallagher’s previous rank and granting pardons for two Army officers similarly implicated in war crimes, which came after months of vocal support for Gallagher in particular. In August, the president even urged the Navy to strip Gallagher’s military prosecutors of their medals, arguing they performed poorly on his case.

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Three of Gallagher’s commanding officers also face individual review hearings to determine whether they will be removed from the SEALs, Lawrence added.

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