HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) – U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said on Friday a Navy SEAL convicted of battlefield misconduct should face a board of peers weighing whether to oust him from the elite force, despite President Donald Trump’s assertion that he not be expelled.
“I believe the process matters for good order and discipline,” Spencer told Reuters, weighing in on a confrontation between Trump and senior Navy officials over the outcome of a high-profile war-crimes case.
A military jury in July convicted Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of illegally posing for pictures with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter while Gallagher was deployed to Iraq in 2017.
The jury acquitted him of murder in the detainee’s death, and he was sentenced to a demotion in rank and pay grade, but not prison time.
Last Friday, Trump intervened in the case, ordering the Navy to restore Gallagher’s rank and pay and clearing the way for him to retire on a full pension.