The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has unanimously dismissed the case against Navy Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet, who had been accused in connection with the 2019 death of a Green Beret veteran. The charges, including involuntary manslaughter, were dismissed with prejudice, so prosecutors cannot file them again. The decision was based on a lower court’s finding that unlawful command influence had tainted the case. The dismissal may mark the end of the legal saga involving the accused individuals, referred to as the MARSOC 3.
- Charges Dismissed: The military’s highest appeals court dismissed all charges against Eric Gilmet, a special operations corpsman, who had been accused of causing the 2019 death of military contractor and Green Beret veteran Rick Rodriguez.
- Unlawful Command Influence: The dismissal came after the court found that a top Marine judge advocate had hampered Gilmet’s right to defense counsel, creating a perception that the defense counsel’s future would be jeopardized if they continued to advocate for the defendant. This was seen as an “outrageous act” that justified the dismissal.
- Previous Acquittals: Two Marine Raiders who were also charged in connection with the death were acquitted of all charges except violation of a lawful order for drinking while deployed. The acquittal made it difficult for the government to secure a conviction against Gilmet.
- Finality of Decision: The charges were dismissed with prejudice, making the ruling final and preventing prosecutors from filing the charges again. This decision may represent the conclusion of the legal ordeal known as the MARSOC 3.
- Background of the Incident: The charges stemmed from a 2019 New Year’s celebration in Iraq, where an altercation occurred between the accused and Rodriguez, who later died. The prosecution and defense disagreed on who instigated the altercation, leading to a complex trial that spanned several years.