The Latest: Judge releases Navy SEAL charged with murder
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Latest on the court case of a Navy SEAL accused of murder (all times local):
A military judge has released a Navy SEAL from custody in advance of his murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner.
Capt. Aaron Rugh said Thursday that he was freeing Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher as a remedy for interference by prosecutors.
Defense lawyers accuse the prosecutors of misconduct for an effort to track defense lawyers’ emails that they say violated attorney-client privilege.
Gallagher will be freed as his lawyers continue to argue that the case be dismissed. He is scheduled to face trial June 10.
There were gasps in the courtroom as Rugh made the announcement. Gallagher’s wife put her head in her hands and burst into tears.
A military judge overseeing the case of a Navy SEAL charged with murder says he never approved an effort by prosecutors to track defense lawyers’ emails.
Capt. Aaron Rugh said Thursday he knew Navy investigators were trying to find the source of leaked court documents, but did not know of or approve any email tracking.
Defense lawyers say the move amounted to prosecutorial misconduct and they want charges against Gallagher dismissed or prosecutors removed from the case.
A military prosecutor downplayed the tracking effort, saying it did nothing more than record information on where and when emails were opened by recipients.
Defense lawyer Tim Parlatore withdrew his motion to have the judge removed from the case after learning Rugh was kept in the dark about what prosecutors did.
A military prosecutor has downplayed an effort to track emails of lawyers defending a Navy SEAL charged with murder.
Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak (CHAP-lak) said Thursday that the investigation to find the source of news leaks in the case of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher did nothing more than record information on where and when email messages were opened by recipients.
Defense lawyers say prosecutors engaged in misconduct and want charges against Gallagher dismissed or prosecutors removed from the case.
Czaplak says the emails contained code similar to what marketers use to see the internet protocol address where an email was opened and when.
Defense lawyers have called the device a web bug and have said the tracking was unethical.
Lawyers for a Navy SEAL accused of killing an Islamic State prisoner say prosecutors lied, withheld evidence and illegally conducted surveillance of the defense team.
Attorneys for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher are scheduled to ask a military judge Thursday in San Diego to dismiss the charges or kick prosecutors off the case for misconduct.
Defense lawyer Tim Parlatore says the government’s conduct irreparably tainted the politically charged case.
Attorneys are also seeking more information on efforts by prosecutors to plant tracking software in emails sent to the defense and a journalist.
The Navy has said the software was used as part of an investigation to find the source of news leaks and that it did nothing wrong and has no plans to remove the prosecutor.