A decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner was freed Thursday from custody after a military judge cited interference by prosecutors.
The unexpected move drew gasps from those at a hearing in a San Diego courtroom in which lawyers for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher sought to get the case dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct.
Gallagher’s wife, Andrea, who has led a campaign to free her husband, put her head in her hands and burst into tears.
The judge, Capt. Aaron Rugh, has not ruled yet on whether to throw out the case or remove prosecutors over tracking emails sent to defense lawyers and a journalist in an effort to find the source of news leaks in the politically charged case. He said freeing Gallagher at this point would be a remedy for interference by prosecutors.