The family of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher is looking to President Trump after the Navy upheld a sentence in October that includes a reduction in rank and partial pay for the decorated war hero who was found not guilty of murdering a terrorist prisoner in Iraq, but who was convicted on a lesser charge this summer.
Gallagher, a 15-year SEAL, was found not guilty of murdering an Islamic State (ISIS) fighter in 2017. However, he was convicted of posing with the dead prisoner's corpse. The Navy reduced his rank from chief petty officer to 1st class petty officer, which could cost Gallagher nearly $200,000 in retirement funds, according to his family.
President Trump is expected to meet with Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to discuss Gallagher's case, as well as the cases of two other former military service members, and take "imminent" action, Fox News' Pete Hegseth announced Monday on "Fox & Friends." Hegseth said he spoke to the president over the weekend and added Trump is expected to make an announcement before Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
"Restoring Eddie's rank is a sign of true leadership and shows how much the president cares about the men and women fighting on the ground -- and how wrong the bureaucratic brass of the Navy has been throughout this entire farce of a case," the Gallagher family said in a statement to Fox News on Tuesday. "This is why our war fighters love this president."
The Gallaghers said they are depending on the president to undo what they call the "tremendous amount of injustice" inflicted on their family by the Navy, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) system, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), the Navy Judge Advocate Generals (JAGs) Corps and Gallagher's command at Naval Special Warfare (NSW).
"Letting Eddie retire as chief [petty officer] grants our family the dignity it is owed after two decades of fighting on the front lines of the War on Terror," they said. "Eddie has sacrificed so much, and we are so grateful the president recognizes this sacrifice and [could grant] Eddie the ability to retire in peace."
Gallagher's defense attorney Tim Parlatore on Monday released a letter to NSW Commander Rear Adm. Collin Green, calling out what he says is a conspiracy to retaliate against Gallagher by taking away his SEAL trident, the iconic insignia that recognizes those who have completed the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training.
"There is no legitimate, lawful purpose in taking further action against Eddie Gallagher, who was convicted only of posing in a photograph with a deceased terrorist, given the significant punishment he has already suffered," Parlatore said in the letter.
Parlatore told Fox News on Tuesday that the fight for Gallagher's freedom, rank, retirement and trident has been "intense."
"We truly appreciate the president's strength, leadership and judgment to exercise his authority as commander in chief and end this injustice," he said.
Hegseth said Monday that Trump is also considering the cases of Army Green Beret Maj. Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with premeditated murder in the 2010 death of a suspected Taliban bomb maker in Afghanistan; and of Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who is serving a 20-year sentence for ordering his soldiers to shoot two suspected Taliban scouts in Afghanistan in 2012.
Trump has "a lot of latitude" to dismiss a case or commute a sentence, Hegseth said.
Gallagher's case had caught the attention of Trump, who in March ordered that the SEAL be moved out of Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego and placed in less restrictive pre-trial confinement ahead of his day in court.
Trump tweeted his congratulations to the Gallagher family following his not guilty verdict in July.
"Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family," the president wrote. "You have been through much together. Glad I could help!"