- The Washington Times - Friday, December 27, 2019

Navy SEALs who served with retired Chief Petty Officer Edward R. Gallagher prior to his military trial for war crimes called him “freaking evil” and “toxic” in video out Friday.

The New York Times obtained and released footage of interviews conducted by naval investigators more than a year before the SEAL was acquitted of six of seven counts, including murder, but convicted of posing with a corpse in Iraq.

President Trump controversially intervened in the case several times, including by allowing Chief Gallagher to retire last month without being stripped of his SEAL status and leading to the ousting of former Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.

Speaking to members of the Naval Criminal Investigative, fellow SEALs painted a disturbing picture of being deployed alongside Chief Gallagher overseas.

“The guy is freaking evil,” Special Operator First Class Craig Miller said in an interview. “I think Eddie was proud of it, and that was, like, part of it for him.”

“The guy was toxic,” said Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens.

Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the same platoon as Chief Gallagher, added: “You could tell he was perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving.”

Marc Mukasey, an attorney for the retired SEAL, recalled the results of his client’s court-martial in a statement sent to The Times.

“The jury heard all the evidence — the prosecution’s and the defense’s — and acquitted Eddie of every single serious charge. Enough said,” Mr. Mukasey said in a statement.

Chief Gallagher was convicted of the single count in July and accordingly demoted. Mr. Trump restored his rank in November over the objections of his own secretary of the Navy.

“This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review,” Mr. Spencer wrote afterward. “It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”

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