Former Navy SEAL sues Navy secretary, reporter for leaks, defamation

by Bryan Brammer · Jun 3rd, 2020 2:24 pm

Former Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder charges last year, is suing the Navy secretary and a New York Times reporter, alleging that both parties corroborated to defame his name ahead of his trial.

The suit accuses the Navy of illegally sending "about 500 pages of confidential documents from the Navy's criminal investigation" on Gallagher to reporter David Philipps.

In July of last year, Gallagher was acquitted of all charges related to the fatal stabbing of a teenage ISIS fighter as well as allegations of firing on Iraqi civilians from a sniper's nest. He was, however, convicted of taking a picture with the teen's dead body.

The lawsuit alleges that "corrupt Navy officials" conspired with Philipps to defame Gallagher by publishing articles that included false information to discredit the SEAL's testimony and character.

"Navy officials presented David Philipps with a golden egg," the lawsuit reads. "They would illegally provide him with certain protected documents, in clear violation of the Privacy Act and court orders, so that Philipps could write a damning portrayal of Chief Gallagher, with reckless disregard for the truth."

Philipps declined to comment Monday, but provided New York Time's statement on the lawsuit.

"Mr. Gallagher's complaint is long on conspiracy theory and very short on facts about what actually happened in Iraq," a NYT spokeswoman said. "Dave Philipps did what any good journalist should: he accurately reported on a criminal trial, including testimony that implicated Mr. Gallagher in the death of a man. Nowhere in a 40-page complaint does Mr. Gallagher deny his role in the killing."


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