Attorney for Navy SEAL awaiting murder trial accuses prosecutors of spying on email, threatening defendant
An attorney representing decorated Navy SEAL Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, who is accused of several war crimes including killing a teen ISIS fighter in 2017, is alleging that prosecutors installed tracking software in emails sent to him and to a reporter from the Navy Times in an “apparent attempt to discover who was leaking information to the media.”
Tim Parlatore, a New York-based attorney, also this week questioned whether a postcard threatening Gallagher, written in Arabic and delivered to the hospital where the defendant is confined, may have been mailed by Navy prosecutors.
The spy software was found by a defense lawyer, Parlatore said. It was disguised as a logo of an American flag with a bald eagle perched on the scales of justice beneath the signature, he said.
Addressing the allegations, Brian O’Rourke, a spokesman for the Navy Region Southwest, said, “This is all related to an investigation on court-protected documents and because of that, I can’t respond.” Navy Region Southwest is the court-martial’s convening authority.
O’Rourke added that in January, the presiding military judge issued a protective order to limit the distribution of documents associated with Gallagher’s case.
“Following several violations of this protective order, NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) initiated a separate investigation into the violations,” O’Rourke said.
Gallagher, who is set to go on trial for murder May 28, has been confined to Balboa Naval Hospital. The postcard was found at the hospital on May 8, Parlatore said. O’Rourke would not comment on the postcard allegation.
“It was a postcard made to look as if it came from the terrorist Eddie is accused of killing,” said Parlatore, who took over Gallagher’s defense in April. He said the Arabic translated to: “You killed me and I’ll see you in hell.”
Parlatore said he will ask for the case against Gallagher to be dismissed. As of Wednesday, May 15, that had not happened, O’Rourke said.
Gallagher, 39, was arrested Sept. 11 while being treated at Camp Pendleton’s Intrepid Spirit Center. The 19-year Navy veteran is accused of premeditated murder in the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old ISIS fighter, according to the prosecution. At the time, he was serving as a medic with Naval Special Warfare Group One based out of San Diego.
Two other charges — one accusing Gallagher of posing with the corpse of the teen while filming an enlistment video and one accusing him of flying a drone over the teen’s corpse — were thrown out during a hearing on Feb.4.
Gallagher is also charged with shooting a man in June 2017 and a woman in July of that year, both civilians classified as “noncombatants,” according to charge sheets.
On Jan. 4, Gallagher was arraigned on charges of premeditated murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He pleaded “not guilty” to all war crimes he is accused of committing during his 2017 deployment in Iraq.
Gallagher’s platoon commander, Lt. Jacob Portier, is fighting charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly conducting Gallagher’s re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse.
Gallagher’s case has attracted national attention, with some Republican lawmakers asking for a dismissal.
In March, President Trump tweeted about his confinement and Gallagher subsequently was moved from the brig to confinement at the Naval hospital.