Testimony in the military trial of a Navy SEAL accused of fatally stabbing a prisoner in Iraq two years ago has concluded.
Defense attorneys for Eddie Gallagher rested their case Friday. Prosecutors didn’t call rebuttal witnesses, leading the way for closing arguments to begin Monday morning.
Prosecutors had called 14 witnesses in six days and defense attorneys began calling witnesses on Wednesday.
Gallagher, a special operations chief, is accused of stabbing a prisoner to death, posing for a photo next to a corpse, shooting at noncombatants and intimidating SEALs who could report his behavior. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted of murder, he faces life in prison.
Since the trial began last week, seven jurors in the San Diego military courtroom heard testimony from witnesses who said they saw Gallagher pull out a knife and stab an ISIS prisoner in the neck and some who didn’t.
Earlier this week, Special Operations Chief Craig Miller testified he saw Gallagher stab the wounded fighter “on the right side of his neck, toward the jugular vein.” Another witness said he saw Gallagher stab the prisoner under the collarbone but didn’t see any blood.
But another witness, Staff Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo, who was deployed in Mosul with Gallagher in 2017, testified that he did not see stab wounds on the ISIS detainee’s neck. Kirylo testified he moved the body, after medical efforts failed, to take a “trophy photo.”
He said “everyone was happy about the day” and the success of the mission and wanted a photo, he said.
Witness could face perjury charges
Last week, Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in Gallagher’s deployment, testified that he was the one who killed the ISIS prisoner, not Gallagher.
When called to the witness stand, Scott said under oath, “I suffocated him. I held my thumb over his trach tube until he asphyxiated.”
Prosecutors were exploring perjury charges against Scott, according to a Navy email obtained Wednesday by CNN.
The email from the Navy to Scott’s lawyer said: “Scott reportedly testified directly contrary to previous official statements — thus exposing him to prosecution.”
Because he had testimonial immunity, Scott cannot be charged with murder, but as outlined in the email, his testimony directly contradicted official statements he gave to investigators and prosecutors.