GOP rep defends accused war criminal, saying he also photographed bodies

GOP rep defends accused war criminal, saying he also photographed bodies
© Greg Nash

Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterIssa's Senate confirmation hearing delayed over concerns about background check Can Carl DeMaio save the California GOP? The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate MORE (R-Calif.) is defending a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, saying he also took pictures of bodies while serving in the Marine Corps, according to the Times of San Diego.

“Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Hunter said at an event in California on Saturday, referring to Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher.

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Gallagher is accused of murdering a wounded teenage ISIS fighter in Iraq in 2017. He allegedly sent a photo of the prisoner to a fellow SEAL afterward with the text: “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.”

Hunter said Saturday that while he had taken pictures “just like that when I was overseas,”  he had never posted them to social media or texted them.

“A lot of my peers," he said, "have done the exact same thing.”

Fellow members of SEAL Team 7’s Alpha Platoon have also claimed Gallagher shot a school-age Iraqi girl and an elderly man dead from a sniper’s roost and “indiscriminately” fired bullets and rockets into Iraqi neighborhoods.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE is reportedly considering pardoning Gallagher.

Hunter said that while he would like to see Gallagher pardoned, his court-martial should go forward to demonstrate “how disgusting the military justice system is when it’s run by lawyers and bureaucrats [who] go after the war-fighter,” and to potentially embarrass the Navy.

Hunter was indicted in 2017 on allegations of wire fraud and campaign finance violations, and compared his own case to Gallagher’s, according to the newspaper, saying that civilian and military prosecutors were chiefly focused on “how famous can they get.”

Those charges are still pending.