Navy SEAL prosecutors to be stripped of achievement medals

Politics

FILE – In this July 2, 2019, file photo, Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher leaves a military court on Naval Base San Diego in San Diego. President Donald Trump says he has directed the secretary of the Navy and chief of naval operations to “immediately withdraw and rescind” the Navy Achievement Medal from prosecutors who argued the case against Gallagher, a decorated Navy SEAL. Military jurors earlier this month acquitted Gallagher in the death of a wounded Islamic State captive under his care in Iraq. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Navy officials said Wednesday they are pulling achievement medals from prosecutors who argued the case against a decorated Navy SEAL who was acquitted in the death of a wounded Islamic State captive.

President Donald Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday that he had directed the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations to “immediately withdraw and rescind” the Navy Achievement Medal from prosecutors who argued the case against Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted by military jurors earlier this month.

“The Prosecutors who lost the case against SEAL Eddie Gallagher (who I released from solitary confinement so he could fight his case properly), were ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal,” Trump complained, adding, “I am very happy for Eddie Gallagher and his family!”

The move appeared to be a highly unusual presidential intervention in a case he had personally championed.

Navy officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case, said the Navy secretary is authorized to pull such awards and would be doing so.

The military publication Task & Purpose first reported that, after Gallagher was found not guilty, members of the U.S. government team that prosecuted him were awarded medals for their “superb results” and “expert litigation.”

Officials said that included four officers and several others.

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