Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has decided to drop a review of three SEALs who could have been expelled from the force in connection to war crimes committed by Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly said in a statement Wednesday that he directed the chief of Naval Operations to terminate Trident reviews for Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, Lt. Thomas MacNeil and Lt. Jacob Portier who were deployed to Iraq with Gallagher in 2017.
"Given the unique circumstances of these three remaining cases, I have determined that any failures in conduct, performance, judgment or professionalism exhibited by these officers be addressed through other administrative measures as appropriate, such as letters of instruction or performance observations on their officer fitness reports," Modly said.
He said the Navy and the Naval Special Warfare Community "neither deserves the continued distraction and negative attention" that the case involving Gallagher has attracted.
Gallagher was court-martialed in July but acquitted of killing a teenage Islamic State prisoner and other war crime allegations such as shooting civilians and threatening superiors. However, he was convicted of posing for a photograph with his captive's body and sentenced to four months in prison.
The three other SEALs were Gallagher's superior officers at that time and Portier was also charged though they were later dropped.
The case has garnered national attention as President Donald Trump publicly voiced support for Gallagher, even interfering to have him moved from a military brig to a less restrictive location during his pre-trial incarceration.
Last week, Trump said he wouldn't allow the Navy to strip Gallagher of his Trident pin, which signifies his membership as a SEAL. A week earlier, he reinstated Gallagher to the rank of E-7, which he was demoted from following his conviction.
The case also resulted in Sunday's firing of former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who attempted to broker a deal to have Gallagher retire with his rank and pin intact as long as Trump stopped interfering in the matter.