The situation could have been far worse for Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, but he is still going to pay a price.
While cleared of all murder charges, Gallagher was sentenced to reduced rank, going from an E7 to an E6, for taking pictures with a dead Taliban fighter.
Cleared of All Murder Charges
On Tuesday, Gallagher had been officially cleared of the most serious charges against him.
He had been facing premeditated murder, willfully discharging a firearm to endanger human life, retaliation against members of his platoon for reported his alleged crimes, obstruction of justice, and the attempted murders of two noncombatants.
After another member of his platoon admitted to having asphyxiated the Islamic State fighter, testimony that went against other members who had stated Gallagher stabbed the man, the jury dismissed the other charges.
The only charge remaining was his part in posing for pictures with a dead enemy.
Still, though, the jury decided to send Gallagher a strong message with the sentence.
In addition to the reduced rank and pay, Gallagher was sentenced to confinement for four months.
However, since he has already served nine months, he will be released.
Gallagher will also have to pay a fine of $2,697 for each of the next four months.
These punishments were the most possible given the charges.
After the verdict and sentence were handed down, Gallagher stated, “I feel fine.
“It’s all right, you know.
“The jury came with a verdict.”
“I trust them.”
SEAL to the End
There was significant scuttlebutt that the charges that were brought about against Gallagher were nothing more than disgruntled platoon members trying to get rid of the Chief.
Gallagher himself has stated the behavior of his platoon was not representative of the SEAL community.
He stated, “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 was more than likely referring to both the conduct that led to his charges as well as his own team turning against him.
The demotion from Chief Petty Officer to Petty Officer will cost Gallagher about $6,000 year.
In addition to impacting his current pay, it will have a severe impact on his retirement pay.
Considering the national attention brought about by this case, though, it is probably a safe bet there is, at the very least, a book in Gallagher’s future, if not a movie, and the windfall that will come with it.
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