Shock testimony at trial of Navy SEAL accused of killing ISIS fighter as witness takes blame
A Navy SEAL stunned a San Diego courtroom Thursday with testimony he’s the one who ultimately killed the Islamic State fighter at the center of his fellow SEAL’s murder trial.
Corey Scott, a first class petty officer, dropped the bombshell as he testified under an immunity deal at the court-martial of fellow medic Edward Gallagher.
Scott said it was true he watched Gallagher stab the ISIS prisoner near his collarbone as they rendered aid to the fighter injured in an airstrike in Iraq in 2017.
But he said after the knife attack, he personally used his thumb to cover the breathing tube inserted into the captive fighter’s neck, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Scott said he asphyxiated the badly wounded fighter as an act of mercy — to spare him from being tortured by the Iraqi Emergency Response Division, another ISIS adversary.
“I knew he was going to die anyway, and I wanted to save him from waking up to whatever would happen to him,” Scott told the military court at Naval Base San Diego.
The prosecutor, Lt. Brian John, quickly accused Scott of lying, claiming he previously told investigators a different story and changed it only after a judge gave him immunity and ordered him to testify.
Scott reportedly shot back that he wasn’t untruthful as much as evasive. He claimed no one specifically asked him about his actions after the stabbing and that his immunity deal gave him the opportunity to explain his actions.
“So you can stand up there and you can lie about how you killed the ISIS prisoner so Chief Gallagher does not have to go to jail,” John said.
“You don’t want Chief Gallagher to go to jail, do you?” John asked
“He’s got a wife and family,” Scott said. “I don't think he should be spending his life in prison.”
The shock admission came on the fourth day of testimony in the closely watched case and could be a huge break for Gallagher, who has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder as well as the attempted murder of two Iraqi civilians and shooting indiscriminately at a crowd.
Gallagher’s lead defense lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, has said some witnesses have conspired to lie about his client.
Before Scott took the witness stand, two other platoon mates gave testimony damaging to Gallagher.
One said he saw Gallagher stab the fighter in the neck and saw Scott deliver aid by putting a bandage on the fighter’s neck, The Tribune reported.
Another comrade said he saw Gallagher shoot an elderly male Iraqi civilian from a sniper position and that he watched Gallagher shoot into a crowd of civilians.
President Donald Trump recently got involved in the case by having Gallagher transferred out of the brig weeks before his trial.
Meanwhile, one of Gallagher’s other defense lawyers is Marc Mukasey, who also happens to be one of Trump’s personal attorneys.