Edward “Eddie” Gallagher was reported by his fellow Navy SEALs in 2017 after allegedly firing upon civilians in Iraq and fatally stabbing a 15-year-old enemy captive. President Donald Trump is now reportedly considering a pardon for Gallagher, along with other accused and convicted war criminals, and Fox News host Pete Hegseth is happy to take credit for it.
While Gallagher is scheduled for trial starting May 28, Trump has considered pardoning him before then. Earlier this month, the president issued a pardon for former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, who was convicted of unpremeditated murder after driving an Iraqi prisoner into the desert in 2008 and fatally shooting him. Hegseth has played an instrumental role in driving Trump to these decisions, The Daily Beast and CNN report.
As early as January, Hegseth, a military veteran, has urged the president in private talks to pardon accused and convicted war criminals. From The Daily Beast:
According to three people with knowledge of the situation, Hegseth had multiple private conversations on the topic with President Trump over the past four-and-a-half months, with Gallagher’s case among those he pushed. The Fox & Friends host repeatedly told Trump that the process had been “very unfair” to Gallagher, two of these sources tell The Daily Beast. Hegseth pushed the president not only to publicly help Gallagher, but since at least March has specifically advised Trump to pardon him and the other men, the sources said.
Hegseth has also publicly advocated for Gallagher on “Fox & Friends.” In November, he brought on Gallagher’s brother, who asked Trump to review the case, according to CNN. In March, Trump announced that Gallagher would be moved to “less restrictive confinement” in “honor of his past service.”
Following the death of the 15-year-old, Gallagher allegedly posed for celebratory photos with the body. After The Daily Beast published its story, Hegseth continued to make clear his position clear by tweeting the story out with the hashtag #FreeEddie.