WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50) made the following statement today regarding the not guilty verdict in the case of Chief Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher:

“The Gallagher case has been shameful from the start and, while much damage has been done, I am confident that Chief Gallagher, Andrea, their children and the entire family has the fortitude and determination to rebuild their lives and move on to the next chapter.  That being said, the fact that this situation would happen to an American hero is nothing short of a disgrace for the entire military justice system.

“On very circumstantial and limited physical evidence, the Navy felt it appropriate to charge Chief Gallagher with the murder of an ISIS terrorist, accomplishing nothing but destroying the military career of a decorated Navy SEAL and giving every warfighter cause for concern that the nation they serve does not have their back.

“Let’s review how the Navy prosecution has conducted themselves in this situation.  When Chief Gallagher was arrested, his children were pulled from their home in their underwear at gunpoint.  Gallagher was placed in solitary confinement and then in a general population with pedophiles and other sexual offenders before being formally charged.  He was provided very limited access to his attorney, family and medical treatment for seven months and it literally took an act of the President of the United States to place him in an appropriate confinement environment.  The prosecution violated court orders by leaking misleading details to the media and misled the White House and Members of Congress regarding video evidence that actually exonerates Gallagher rather than implicating him.  The Navy delayed in providing exculpatory evidence to Gallagher’s defense and then proceeded to embed malware into emails sent to Gallagher’s defense attorney and the media.  Even after the shocking admission on the stand by a witness that it was he who killed the ISIS fighter and not Chief Gallagher, the Navy prosecution still moved forward with this unnecessary trial.  The Navy’s actions in this case are shameful, detrimental to good order and adversely affects the morale of our warfighters.

“This not guilty verdict was more than warranted.  While this case is now closed, the Navy will still be held accountable for their actions in this matter and I fully intend to continue working to protect America’s warfighters against a military justice system that is more focused on career advancement and sensational headlines as opposed to implementing and exercising the rule of law.”

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