Former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher and his wife have launched a nonprofit to assist military service members, first responders and their families with legal support, following his war crimes trial that was marred by missteps and prosecutorial misconduct.
The Pipe Hitter Foundation will provide financial support, including legal defense funds, advocacy for its clients through the public and policymakers, and public affairs campaigns, the group said Wednesday in an announcement.
“During our own personal ordeal, we pledged to those supporting us that if we overcame the injustices that were inflicted on Eddie and our family, we'd fight to help others,” said Gallagher's wife, Andrea.
The initiative comes nearly a year after Eddie Gallagher, a 15-year SEAL, was found not guilty of almost all charges against him -- including murder and attempted murder -- in the fatal stabbing of a teen Islamic State fighter in 2017.
Eddie Gallagher was accused of killing the captive militant and posing for photos with a corpse. He was convicted of the latter charge and had his rank reduced as a result.
But President Trump took an interest in the highly-charged case and restored Gallagher's rank in November 2019. He also prevented the Navy from seeking further disciplinary action against the SEAL and fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer for his handling of the case.
At his trial, fellow SEALs testified that Eddie Gallagher stabbed the prisoner, but one witness, Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, stunned trial observers when he took responsibility for the death.
Scott said he saw Gallagher stab the teen but that he killed the Islamic militant when he blocked the breathing tube inserted into his mouth. The trial was further marred when the lead prosecutor was removed from the case for allegedly trying to spy on attorneys and a journalist.
Navy Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak was ousted after he was accused of attaching tracking software to emails sent to attorneys and a Navy Times reporter in an effort to find the source of leaks to the media.
Eddie Gallagher recently filed a lawsuit against Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite and a New York Times journalist, claiming Navy officials leaked personal documents to the newspaper in an attempt to smear him and compel him to take a plea deal.
"I was fortunate to have Andrea, my brother Sean [Gallagher] and countless individuals dedicated to finding the best resources to help me during my personal case, but not everyone has that type of support," Eddie Gallagher said in the foundation's release Thursday.
The retired SEAL was found not guilty of murder only after a grassroots campaign led by his family and intense legal battle, the foundation's website says, adding that he came "dangerously close to being crushed by a military justice system corrupted by political correctness, careerism and incompetence."
Pipe Hitter, Eddie Gallagher said, stems from a term of the same name to describe "someone you want with you during tough situations, someone who has your back and is willing to sacrifice and work hard to get the job done."