By Associated Press
“You have been through much together. Glad I could help!” the president wrote.
The outcome dealt a major blow to one of the Navy’s most high-profile war crimes cases and exposed a generational conflict within the ranks of the elite special operations forces.
Gallagher could face up to four months imprisonment for the single conviction along with a reduction in rank, forfeiture of two-thirds of his pay and a reprimand.
In the military justice system, the jury decides the sentence.
Asked in an interview Wednesday on the Fox News show “Fox & Friends” what his message might be to future Navy SEALs, Gallagher said he would tell them that “loyalty is a trait that seems to be lost. ... You’re there to watch your brother’s back, and he’s there to watch your back.”
Speaking of his accusers, Gallagher said, “this small group of SEALs that decided to concoct this story in no way, shape or form represent the community that I love.”
Gallagher also thanked Fox News “for being behind us from Day 1,” and also thanked Trump along with Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Ralph Norman of South Carolina.
Trump, a regular viewer of the Fox morning program, responded on Twitter:
Gallagher’s wife, Andrea, has vowed to continue to take action over what she has described as prosecutorial misconduct and a shoddy investigation that led to her husband going to trial. She said she wants Naval Special Warfare Group 1 Commodore Capt. Matthew D. Rosenbloom to resign, among other things.
Defense lawyers said Gallagher was framed by junior disgruntled platoon members who fabricated the allegations to oust their chief. They said the lead investigator built the probe around their stories instead of seeking the truth.
They said there was no physical evidence to support the allegations because no corpse was ever recovered and examined by a pathologist.
The prosecution said Gallagher was incriminated by his own text messages and photos, including one of him holding the dead militant up by the hair and clutching a knife in his other hand.
“Got him with my hunting knife,” Gallagher wrote in a text with the photo.
The defense said it was just gallows humor and pointed out that almost all platoon members who testified against him also posed with the corpse.
The jury of five Marines and two sailors, including a SEAL, comprises mainly seasoned combat veterans who served in Iraq. Several lost friends in war.