In the wake of bombshell testimony in the trial of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, prosecutors are now exploring perjury charges against a witness, according to a Navy email obtained Wednesday by CNN.
Special Operator First Class Corey Scott could face a court-martial for lying to investigators and prosecutors.
When called to the witness stand, Scott testified last week that he, not Gallagher, killed an ISIS prisoner in Iraq two years ago. Scott, a Navy SEAL medic, said under oath, “I suffocated him. I held my thumb over his trach tube until he asphyxiated.”
Gallagher, a special operations chief, is accused of multiple violations of military law in Iraq, including murdering a prisoner, posing for a photo next to a corpse, shooting at noncombatants and intimidating SEALs who could report his behavior.
Gallagher has pleaded not guilty. If convicted of murder, he faces life in prison.
The email from the Navy to Scott’s lawyer said: “Scott reportedly testified directly contrary to previous official statements — thus exposing him to prosecution.”
Because he had testimonial immunity, Scott cannot be charged with murder, but as outlined in the email, his testimony directly contradicted official statements he gave to investigators and prosecutors.
Navy officials at the Pentagon declined to comment on potential charges against Scott. Scott’s attorney, Brian Ferguson, also declined to comment.
Gallagher’s attorney, Tim Parlatore, criticized the Navy on Wednesday for considering perjury charges against Scott.
“I think if the Navy tried charging Corey Scott with perjury, that would probably be the only thing more stupid that a prosecutor could do than to try and bring a murder case based on this evidence,” Parlatore told reporters.
“Corey Scott came in here and he testified,” he said. “If they thought he was committing perjury, they would’ve read him his rights at that time.”
Prosecutors rested their case on Tuesday after calling 14 witnesses in six days. Defense attorneys began calling witnesses on Wednesday.