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SEAL's trial delayed as defense seeks info on email snooping
SEAL's trial delayed as defense seeks info on email snooping

SAN DIEGO (AP), May 23 (TIWN)— A judge delayed the murder case Wednesday of a decorated Navy SEAL to first make sure the government's monitoring of defense team emails did not compromise his right to a fair trial.

Lawyers defending Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher want the judge in the case removed because he was aware prosecutors planted tracking software in emails sent to the defense team and a journalist in an effort to find the source of news leaks.

Defense attorney Tim Parlatore said prosecutors may have misled the judge about the unusual tactic and he plans to ask that they be disqualified from the high-profile case.

"What we believed is that the judge authorized prosecutors to spy on the defense team," Parlatore said after the hearing. "Now looking at things it appears that prosecutors may have lied to the judge and that he didn't authorize it and he didn't know what they were really doing."

Gallagher, who was dressed in Navy whites at the hearing, was scheduled to face trial May 28 on charges he killed a wounded Islamic State prisoner under his care in 2017. He is also charged with shooting two civilians in Iraq and opening fire on crowds.

Now that trial date is in doubt as the defense tries to learn more about the email tracking and whether it violated attorney-client privilege and protections against illegal searches.

Dozens of Republican congressmen have championed Gallagher's cause, claiming he's an innocent war hero being unfairly prosecuted. President Donald Trump got him moved from the brig to better confinement in a military hospital with access to his lawyers and family.

Parlatore, who said his team includes Marc Mukasey, one of Trump's attorneys, did not reach out to the president but acknowledged he could pardon Gallagher or dismiss the case.

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