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California congressman defends war crimes suspect

California congressman defends war crimes suspect



Rep. Duncan Hunter

“Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Rep. Duncan Hunter said. | Gregory Bull/AP File Photo

Rep. Duncan Hunter, an advocate for the pardoning of a Navy SEAL who has been charged with war crimes, said he is guilty of doing one of the things Eddie Gallagher is accused of during his own time in the Marines.

“Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” the California Republican said at a border-issues forum in Ramona, Calif., according to the Times of San Diego.

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Gallagher, a Navy SEAL special operations chief, faces homicide charges for crimes he is alleged to have committed in Iraq in 2017; he is set to stand trial in June. In one case, he texted a picture of a dead 15-year-old ISIS fighter to another SEAL saying, “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.”

Hunter told the forum audience he also had taken pictures “just like that when I was overseas,” but didn’t share them. “But a lot of my peers … have done the exact same thing,” he added.

Hunter’s comment follows a New York Times report that said President Donald Trump may be preparing to pardon several service members, including those accused or convicted of murder or attempted murder, on or around Memorial Day. The Trump administration made expedited requests for pardon paperwork — including one for Gallagher, the New York Times reported.

Hunter said he “absolutely” would love to see Trump issue Gallagher a pardon, the San Diego publication reported. In a USA Today opinion article, Hunter had also said, “Gallagher cannot expect to receive even a semblance of a fair trial. A pardon by Trump is fully warranted.”

Hunter, who was elected in 2008 to succeeded his father in Congress, is a former Marine who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was reelected in November 2018 despite being under indictment on charges of misusing campaign funds.



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