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Trump orders Navy to rescind medals from prosecutors in SEAL trial

By Darryl Coote

Aug. 1 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump ordered the Navy to rescind medals awarded to lawyers who prosecuted Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was found not guilty earlier this month in the 2017 death of a teenage Islamic State prisoner in Iraq.

On Tuesday, Task & Purpose reported that four attorneys and four legal support staffers on the prosecution team in the case against Gallagher received Navy Achievement Medals during a ceremony July 10.

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Trump said in a three-tweet thread Wednesday that the awards were "ridiculously given" and that he had directed Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer and Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to "immediately withdraw and rescind the awards."

According to the military newspaper, which quoted a motion concerning the awards, the prosecution received the commendations due to their "exceptional witness preparation," "expert litigation of constitutional issues" and "superb results."

In his response, Trump condemned the praise as the prosecution not only lost the trial but was marred by a scheme to track emails sent to the defense and media that resulted in its lead prosecutor, Navy Cmdr. Chris Czaplak, to be dismissed from the case.

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"Not only did they lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion," the president said.

Gallagher was found not guilty on six of seven charges related to accusations that he killed a 15-year-old Islamic State soldier. He was found guilty of having posed for pictures with his teenager's corpse, an offense that came with a maximum sentence of four months in prison.

The former SEAL had already served six months in jail prior to the trial and was released late May by a judge due to the prosecution having interfered in the trial.

Gallagher, 40, was arrested Sept. 11 and held on a military brig until Trump aided in his transfer to less restrictive barracks.

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"I am very happy for Eddie Gallagher and his family!" Trump tweeted Wednesday.

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