In stunning testimony, a navy medic admitted under oath that it was he, not Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who killed an ISIS terrorist in Iraq. Gallagher is accused of premeditated murder and aggravated assault in the murder of an ISIS fighter who had been freed after being briefly held by the military.
The medic, Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, had been granted immunity by the prosecution and was being cross-examined by defense attorney Timothy Parlatore.
Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, a SEAL Team Seven medic, revealed during cross-examination in the courtroom at Naval Base San Diego that he killed the fighter by asphyxiation. Scott testified that he saw Gallagher stab the fighter, but then he himself held his thumb over a breathing tube that had been inserted into the militant’s mouth.
“Did Chief Gallagher kill this terrorist?” Gallagher’s attorney Timothy Parlatore then asked Scott.
“No,” Scott replied.
Parlatore asked Scott why he did it?
“Why did you kill him?” Parlatore asked Scott during one point of the cross-examination.
“Because I knew he was going to die anyway,” Scott answered. “I wanted to save him from what was going to happen next to him.”
Gallagher, 40, previously pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and aggravated assault charges stemming from the alleged killing and other alleged instances of firing sniper rounds at civilians in Iraq in 2017.
Scott also told the defense counsel that during his time serving overseas, he had witnessed the Iraqi Emergency Response Division “torture, rape and murder prisoners.”
“Is this why you asphyxiated him?” Parlatore asked. “Yes,” Scott replied.
Scott has his own credibility problems, as the prosecutor, Lt. Brian John, attempted to show:
In other courtroom testimony that seemed straight out of a Hollywood movie, the Navy prosecutor opposite Parlatore raised his voice at Scott, charging that only now he was offering this testimony because he had immunity and he wanted to keep Gallagher out of jail. He accused Scott of never mentioning his role in the death during prosecution interviews that took place ahead of the trial.
“You never said that you covered the tube, did you?” asked Lt. Brian John, the prosecutor.
“You said he maintained vital signs until he stopped breathing,” he continued, reading off an interview transcript, accusing Scott of changing his story “only now, after you’ve been granted testimonial immunity.”
“You can lie about the fact that you killed the ISIS prisoner because you don’t want Chief Gallagher to go to jail,” Lt. John continued.
“I don’t want him to go to jail,” Scott shot back.
The defense claims that the prosecution never asked Scott whether he covered the breathing tube. But it’s unclear how the judges will accept this bombshell revelation.
Even if Gallagher is cleared in the murder of the ISIS prisoner, he has other alleged crimes to answer for, including sniping at Iraqi civilians. But the act of putting Gallagher on trial to begin with is designed to send a message to all military personnel deployed in a war zone: there are limits to the rules of engagement and murder of an unarmed enemy will not be tolerated.