https://taskandpurpose.com/seal-chief-eddie-gallagher-will-remain-in-jail-prior-to-court-martial-in-war-crimes-case?jwsource=cl

The U.S. Navy SEAL Chief accused of war crimes during the Battle of Mosul will remain in a jail after a military judge denied his attorneys’ motion to have him released from pretrial confinement on Thursday.

Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher was arrested Sep. 11, 2018 on accusations that he stabbed and killed a wounded ISIS fighter and shot at unarmed civilians during his 2017 deployment with SEAL Team 7.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised due to the low legal burden by the government refusing to put a witness on the stand, and the defense being denied the right to call any witnesses to the allegations,” Philip Stackhouse, Gallagher’s civilian attorney, told Task & Purpose in a statement.

Navy Region Southwest spokesman Brian O’Rourke confirmed the military judge, Navy Capt. Aaron Rugh, had denied Gallagher’s request to be released from pretrial confinement. Rugh made no other rulings on Thursday.

Gallagher’s court-martial is slated to begin on Feb. 19, O’Rourke told Task & Purpose on Friday.

NCIS Agent Joe Warpinski, who has been investigating the case since April, said during Gallagher’s Article 32 hearing that he had taken sworn testimony from 9 members of Gallagher’s unit, SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon. According to Warpinski, the platoon was operating in Mosul alongside the Iraqi Emergency Response Division when the alleged murder occurred.

The Iraqis called in an airstrike on a building and then subsequently captured a wounded ISIS fighter, who Warpinski approximated to be about 15 years old. After the fighter was taken prisoner — and briefly interviewed by an Iraqi journalist — he was turned over to the SEALs at their compound and medics began treating him, including Gallagher.

Gallagher briefly left as other SEALs began to help with medical treatment of the fighter, who was having trouble breathing and was apparently hit with shrapnel in the left leg. But one other SEAL medic, C.S. (witnesses were reduced to initials in the proceedings to shield them from potentially being placed on so-called “ISIS kill lists“), told NCIS he believed he had just stabilized the fighter before Gallagher “walked up without saying anything at all” and started stabbing him.

C.S. told investigators it left him in “complete disbelief.”

Afterward, according to the charges, Gallagher posed next to the body and took pictures, in addition to carrying out his reenlistment ceremony.

Stackhouse had asked the judge to release Gallagher prior to his trial. Since his arrest, Gallagher’s supporters have taken to social networks and the media to make their case that he did not do what he has been accused of. So far, the government has introduced hundreds of pages of witness testimony, text messages, and photographs into evidence.

“These accusations would be laughable — and were to him and our family — until for some crazy reason the Navy took them seriously,” the Chief’s brother, Sean Gallagher, wrote in an op-ed for Newsweek. “Multiple — and I quite literally mean multiple — of Eddie’s teammates on his last deployment deny all of what has been said about him. My brother will have a team of witnesses come to his side to refute all of these false charges. Even the Iraqi General serving with Eddie’s platoon denies that the alleged events took place.”

Gallagher is being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Miramar, California. “I’m innocent,” Gallagher said, in a short video posted to his wife’s Instagram.

He has been in pretrial custody since Sept. 11, 2018, his wife Andrea told Task & Purpose on Friday. His family is “disappointed, but not surprised” by Rugh’s decision not to release him, she said.

“The court recognized Eddie’s record of excellent service as evidenced by the testimony of several senior, current and former SEAL Team members,” Andrea Gallagher said. “The court also acknowledged Eddie’s strong support network of family, friends, and well-wishers. However, it was not enough when the complaining witnesses refused to be questioned by the defense and the Government refused to bring them to court.

“At trial, scheduled for February 19, 2019, Eddie will finally have the Constitutional right to confront his accusers and he eagerly awaits that opportunity.”

Airman 1st Class Bradley Hale was murdered while on a deployment to Guam in March 2018. His roommate, A1C Isiaah Edwards has pleaded self-defense. (Air Force)

 

The lawyer for an airman who is on trial for allegedly murdering his roommate at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam says the airman acted in self-defense, according to a report.

The Shreveport Times in Louisiana reported Thursday that the defense attorney for Airman 1st Class Isaiah Edwards told a panel of seven Air Force service members, serving as a jury in the court-martial, that Edwards did stab A1C Bradley Hale to death in the middle of the night on March 27, 2018.

However, the attorney, Paul Stafford, said in his opening statement the evidence will show Edwards killed Hale in self-defense.

Edwards is being tried at the federal district court in Shreveport. The Shreveport Times reported that Stafford said Edwards will testify in his own defense.

Edwards and Hale were both electronic warfare journeymen based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, but were temporarily assigned to the 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in Guam.

The Shreveport Times also said a suitemate, Senior Airman Charles Jordan, testified he and his roommate were awoken by screams shortly after 2 a.m. that morning. They entered Edwards’ and Hale’s room through a common bathroom and saw Edwards on top of Hale. Jordan testified he and his roommate left to go get help.

What is a court-martial?
Staff Sgt. Christopher Vroman, 334th Training Squadron combat controller, stands ready with a pair of shackles in hand to place on the defendant following sentencing during a summary court martial Feb. 8, 2013, at the Levitow Training Support Facility, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

(KSLA) – A court-martial is a trial for members of the armed services for offenses against military law, which is separate from civilian criminal law.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ, lays out the laws and procedures of courts-martial.

There are three different types of courts-martial

  • General Court-Martial: This is the most serious court-martial and is often characterized as a felony court. A general court-martial can only be called by the President or Secretary of Defense, or by a general, flag officer, or commanding officer of a base. A general court-martial can issue any sentence including the death penalty.
  • Special Court-Martial: This type of court-martial is often characterizes as a misdemeanor court. A special court-martial cannot sentence someone to more than one year of confinement and cannot impose death, dishonorable discharge, or dismissal.
  • Summary Court-Martial: These proceedings consist of one commissioned officer and may try only enlisted personnel for noncapital offenses. The punishments that can be imposed depend on the rank of the accused. A summary court-martial is only for minor offenses.

What happens in a court-martial?

A military judge presides over court martial proceedings. Generally there is trial counsel, also known as the prosecution, which presents the case against the defendant. The defense counsel represents the accused.

A jury in a court-martial, also known as court members, is comprised of military members who make a determination of innocence or guilt.

The number of court members depend on the type of court-martial. For example, in a general court-martial, there must be at least five court members. In a special court-martial, however, there can be three or more members.

Charges have been dismissed against Okinawa-based Marine Sgt. Morgan Bergdahl, who was accused of sexually assaulting a female Marine April 21, 2018.  COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

From Stripes.com
Charges have been dismissed against Okinawa-based Marine Sgt. Morgan Bergdahl, who was accused of sexually assaulting a female Marine April 21, 2018. COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Marine prosecutors Monday dropped sexual-assault charges against a sergeant accused in April of having sex with a female Marine reportedly too intoxicated to consent.

Sgt. Morgan Bergdahl, of Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, was scheduled to appear Monday for the start of court-martial proceedings on four counts of sexual assault and four of abusive sexual contact.

“The charges against Sgt. Bergdahl have been dismissed without prejudice,” III Marine Expeditionary Force spokesman 1st Lt. David Mancilla wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes.

Mancilla did not explain specifically why the charges were dropped. He referred to the Manual for Courts-Martial, including a section that requires authorities to take the victim’s views into consideration before dismissing charges.

Col. Jason Costello (Air Force Photo)

Col. Jason Costello (Air Force Photo)

An Air Force F-22 Raptor pilot charged with multiple crimes, including sexual assault and striking and unlawfully grabbing an individual, is set to be court-martialed in March.

Col. Jason Costello, accused of multiple sexual assault incidents between 2012 and 2014, has been on active duty while he awaits trial, set for March 4, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman Michael Kucharek.

Costello is assigned to the NORAD and U.S. Northern Command Training and Exercises Directorate, Kucharek told Military.com in an email Wednesday.

“He has been in that assignment since July 16, 2016, and is currently working projects as directed by his chain of command,” Kucharek said.

The 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, remains the convening court authority for Costello’s case, Kucharek said.

Costello’s court martial was to be held in last October. But on Oct. 11, the military judge in the case set a new trial of March 4.  “Scheduling changes in courts-martial, and in litigation in general, are not uncommon. They can result from scheduling conflicts and a variety of other issues,” Brady said.

Costello is charged with violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, defined as rape, sexual assault or other sexual misconduct, according to his charge sheet, obtained in May by Military.com.

Brady said the charges remain unchanged.

According to the charges, Costello penetrated a woman while she was asleep in 2014. The act allegedly occurred in Rhode Island sometime between October 2014 and December 2014.

On an earlier occasion, Costello assaulted a woman without her consent with intent to gratify himself, sometime between September 2012 and November 2012, another specification states.

Separately, “on diverse occasions between on or about Dec. 4, 2012, and on or about Aug. 1, 2014,” Costello committed sexual contact by touching his victim’s “breasts over her clothes with his hands and touching her vulva over her clothes with his hands” without her consent, the charge sheet reads.

Another specification under Article 120 has been redacted from the charges; it remains unclear whether it was previously dropped.

Costello also is charged with striking and harming an individual on two occasions.

In 2013, he hit someone in the face, according to a specification under UCMJ Article 128, which covers assault.

Costello also grabbed an individual on his or her arm, wrist and hands in 2017, another specification states.

It’s unclear from the charges whether Costello is accused of assaulting a single individual on multiple occasions or multiple individuals.

Costello previously commanded the 325th Training Support Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, according to a 2012 Air Force release.

He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1995 and attended pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, the release stated.