After a key witness in Eddie Gallagher’s case changed his testimony to say that he (not Gallagher) killed the teenager in Iraq by asphyxiation, Gallagher was acquitted of murder in July but was convicted of wrongfully posing with the teen’s dead body. In November, however, he was granted clemency by President Donald Trump in a controversy that resulted in the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who opposed Trump’s involvement.
In the interview aired Sunday night, Gallagher, who’s retired and living in Florida, showed little remorse for his actions and denied that he killed the ISIS fighter. “I’m pretty sure I’m the first person ever to go to a general court-martial for it, for taking a picture,” Gallagher told “60 Minutes”. “It’s been done on previous deployments.”
That wasn’t all, however. Over the course of the interview, Gallagher expressed his admiration for Trump and even said he’d campaign for him in the election if asked, and, in one particularly surreal scene, showed “60 Minutes” his “war memorabilia,” including the knife he originally said was used to kill the ISIS prisoner.
Gallagher says text saying he stabbed prisoner was a “joke text”
During the interview, Gallagher maintained that a photo taken of him with the dead prisoner — sent to a friend via text with the caption “Good story behind this one. Got him with my hunting knife” — was simply a joke that was never meant to see the light of day.
“It was like a joke text,” Gallagher said. “Dark humor.”
“It’s not often you see a photo of the accused murderer holding the alleged weapon at the throat of his victim,” correspondent David Martin said.
“That is true, yeah, but they ran a test on the knife, the sheath,” Gallagher responded. “No blood anywhere on it. And if you look at the picture close, there’s no blood on the knife. There’s no blood anywhere on me.”
Gallagher’s wife made him into a “brand”
Much of the credit for Gallagher’s clemency goes to his wife, Andrea Gallagher, who ran the campaign to get him out of military prison with petitions, Fox News appearances, and “#FreeEddie” stickers.
“I took my background in marketing and business and branding and I pretty much made a brand out of him,” she told CBS. It worked: In March 2019, Trump announced via Twitter that Gallagher would be moved to “less restrictive confinement” as a result of his “past service to our country.”
Part of what spurred her to action, she said, was the way the search warrant of her house was executed by NCIS agents. (“They dragged the kids out of the house at gunpoint in their underwear,” Gallagher’s lawyer Tim Parlatore said.)
“They came out with assault rifles fully kitted up like they’re going to war to, I guess, assault a house with two kids in it,” Andrea Gallagher said.