Decorated Navy SEAL Edward "Eddie" Gallagher joined "Fox & Friends" Wednesday in an exclusive interview after he was found not guilty of murder and attempted murder in the killing of a teenage Islamic State member in Iraq.
Gallagher, who was accused of stabbing to death a 15-year-old ISIS fighter in 2017 and posing with the corpse for photos, told Pete Hegseth he was grateful to those who supported him through the process, including fellow service members, President Trump and Republican Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Ralph Norman.
Gallagher, 40, was joined by his wife, Andrea, and attorney Tim Parlatore. He was asked about being described in numerous media reports as an accused war criminal.
"I believe they tried to frame me as a criminal from the get-go. But we knew the truth the whole time. We knew I was innocent of these charges. I overcame it by having my strong wife with me the whole time and my legal team fighting for me," he said.
Gallagher faced seven criminal charges in all. Six of the most serious charges included premeditated murder, willfully discharging a firearm to endanger human life, retaliation against members of his platoon for reporting his alleged actions, obstruction of justice and the attempted murders of two noncombatants. On all of those charges, the jury in San Diego found him not guilty.
Jurors did find him guilty of the seventh charge, posing for a photo with a casualty, considered the least egregious of the crimes, which carries a maximum prison sentence of four months.
Gallagher served nine months in prison awaiting trial, but was released ahead of trial proceedings at the end of May.
Nearly a dozen members of Gallagher's platoon testified against him, revealing that nearly all the platoon members posed for photos with the dead prisoner and witnessed Gallagher read his re-enlistment oath near the body, actions prosecutors said proved that Gallagher was "proud" of his actions.
Gallagher said a small group of SEALs "concocted" the accusations against him, arguing they do not represent the SEAL community as a whole.
"This has put a black eye on this community. I want the nation to know this is not what our community is about. This community is full of elite warriors that I have been honored and blessed to work with for the past 20 years," he said.
Perhaps the biggest bombshell in the case occurred on June 20, when Gallagher's colleague, Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, admitted to asphyxiating the ISIS fighter back in 2017, contrary to the testimony of at least seven other SEALs who said Gallagher stabbed the ISIS fighter.
Parlatore said he suspected Scott may have asphyxiated the ISIS fighter after interviewing him before the trial, but Scott did not fully admit it until he took the stand.
"At that moment, I punched Eddie in the leg and said 'we got him,'" he recalled.
Andrea Gallagher said it was a "surreal moment" hearing the verdict Tuesday and said her family was "terrorized."
"Now everyone in the country is able to see what we've seen all along: my husband is a hero," she said, adding she is committed to making sure this does not happen to other U.S. service members.
Fox News' Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.