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Eddie Gallagher, the Navy SEAL at the center of a high-profile standoff between President Trump and some top officials in the Navy, will retire from active duty and will not take part in a review board over his conduct in 2017 while deployed, a Navy spokesman said late Monday.
Gallagher, a highly decorated SEAL who received two Bronze Stars with V for valor, was acquitted of murder in the stabbing death of an Islamic State militant captive but was convicted of posing with the corpse.
Lt. Cmdr. Clay Doss, the Navy spokesman, said there will be no additional information due to privacy concerns.
The announcement was not a surprise. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said earlier that he was given a direct order by Trump to allow Gallagher to retire without losing his status as a Navy SEAL.
Esper on Sunday asked for Richard V. Spencer, the secretary of the Navy, to step down over the handling of the case. Esper claimed that Spencer made overtures to the White House to rig the disciplinary process to ensure that Gallagher would keep his Trident.
“I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official,” Esper said on Sunday. “Unfortunately, as a result, I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position. I wish Richard well.”
Spencer’s ousting was not a consequence of standing up for military justice – but rather was for taking the matter into his own hands and not going through the proper military channels, the senior U.S. official told Fox News. He was fired for “lack of candor,” the official added.
Spencer, for his part, issued a statement that appeared to suggest his ouster was a direct result of the Gallagher review. He said, “I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline.”
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, Vandana Rambaran, Alex Pappas and Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report