Defense attorney in war crimes court-martial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher accuses NCIS agent of mishandling investigation
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Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for decorated Navy SEAL Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, who is charged with the premeditated killing of a teen ISIS fighter and other war crimes, accused the lead investigator in the case of focusing solely on Gallagher from day one and discussing case strategies with his witnesses, as the trial continued in its second week, Tuesday, June 25.
Mukasey accused Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Joseph Warpinski of violating standard NCIS practices as a factual evidence gatherer, during testimony in Gallagher’s court-martial at Naval Base San Diego. Mukasey said Warpinski developed friendly relationships with witnesses and questioned them in a way that led them to believe the investigation was going in a certain direction.
“Did you or did you not tell Chief Craig Miller on the first day of the investigation that you already had your take on the case,” Mukasey asked Warpinski. After some hesitation, Warpinski acknowledged he did make such a statement, after originally saying he had not.
Miller, a chief special warfare operator, testified last week that he saw Gallagher drive a knife into the neck of the ISIS detainee, leaving him for dead.
“In your mind, you’d given Chief Miller a free pass,” Mukasey said. “You didn’t know what happened in Iraq — you jumped to the conclusion Chief Miller had done nothing wrong.“You told him, ‘You didn’t do anything wrong,’ even though you didn’t have a shred of evidence of what happened in Iraq.”
Warpinski testified, Tuesday, that he was trying to build rapport with his witnesses and may have had some “bad word choices.”
“You made it clear you were focusing on one guy,” Mukasey countered. “You shared your opinion, directed witnesses to collect evidence, encouraged witnesses to talk to each other.”
Mukasey told Warpinski that he never asked the most important question during the investigation.
“You know that Chief Gallagher was a corpsman, a sniper, sailor of the year 18 to 19 years in and you never asked anybody why a 19-year decorated combat warrior who spent his life trying to help people would get on his knees, open his medical bag, start applying life-saving procedures and then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, flip a switch and decide to kill a guy,” Mukasey said.