By Carter Evans CBS News June 20, 2019, 6:35 PM Witness in Navy SEAL trial claims he killed ISIS fighter himself
Los Angeles — A government witness dropped a bombshell Thursday at the court-martial of a Navy SEAL accused of murder. Another Navy SEAL said he was the one who executed an ISIS prisoner in Iraq. The stunning admission on the stand came from Corey Scott, a prosecution witness.
Scott said he killed the injured teenage ISIS fighter, not Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher, who's accused of premeditated murder. Under cross examination, Scott said he held his thumb over his tracheal tube "until he quit breathing."
The defense attorney then asked, "Why did you kill him?" Scott replied, "because I knew he would die anyway." He said he did it to prevent the fighter from being tortured, later by Iraqi forces.
Video shows the injured ISIS teen after he was injured by an airstrike, but before Navy SEALs detained him. As he's struggling to breathe, he told an Iraqi TV reporter that his father forced him to join ISIS.
Other SEAL team members have testified that they saw Gallagher stab the ISIS fighter and then pose in front of the corpse, texting a photo to friends saying, "good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife." Scott claims he asphyxiated the young fighter after the stabbing and Gallagher had left the room.
The case has also drawn the attention of members of Congress and President Trump, who has suggested he might pardon Gallagher. He is also accused of randomly shooting at Iraqi civilians and threatening to retaliate against any members of his team who reported him.
"Today for the first time somebody went to one of these witnesses and asked the real question, what is the cause of death, and what we learned, Chief Gallagher is not guilty of murder," said Gallagher's attorney, Jim Parlatore.
Scott received immunity in exchange for his testimony. In court, the prosecutor accused him of lying on the stand to protect Gallagher and Scott admitted he does not want to see Gallagher go to jail.