March 31 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Saturday announced a Navy SEAL who has been charged with fatally stabbing an Islamic State detainee while deployed in Iraq will be “moved to less restrictive confinement.”
Trump posted on Twitter: “In honor of his past service to our Country, Navy Seal #EddieGallagher will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court. Process should move quickly!”
On Tuesday, Norman was among 40 members of Congress who asked the the Navy to “analyze whether a less severe form of restraint would be appropriate” for the 39-year-old chief special warfare operator instead of “pre-trial confinement” before his May 28 court date.
“We ask that you weight this decision given the terrible message Chief Gallagher’s confinement sends to our warfighters, that they can be confined behind bars away from their family, legal defense, and community for nine months before their day in court,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Navy Region Southwest commander Rear Adm. Yancy B. Lindsey.
Since September 2018, the Bronze Star recipient has been at San Diego’s Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar after his arrest while receiving treatment as a wounded warrior at Camp Pendleton in California.
Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to charges during his 2017 deployment with the California-based SEAL Team 7.
He is accused of murdering a teenage Islamic States fighter under his care. Military prosecutors also said he held his re-enlistment ceremony with the detainee’s corpse. Gallagher also allegedly shot two civilians in Iraq and fired inadvertently into crowds.
Gallagher’s attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, told CNN that arrangements for his transfer were “still being worked out.”
“One would hope that when a directive has been issued by the president it would happen quickly, so our anticipation is that it will happen today or tomorrow,” Stackhouse said in an email.
The Navy referred CNN to the White House, which hasn’t commented except for Trump’s tweet.