The military prosecutor of a decorated Navy SEAL accused of murdering a wounded teenage ISIS prisoner in Iraq was booted from the case by a military judge Monday over unsanctioned tracking of the defense team’s emails.
Capt. Aaron Rugh ordered Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak removed from the case after lawyers for Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher accused prosecutors of attaching tracking software to emails sent to them and a Navy Times journalist in a bid to find the source of leaks to the media. In his ruling, Rugh said it was not in his power to determine prosecutorial misconduct, but there was the possibility of a conflict of interest that required Czaplak to be removed.
It was not immediately clear how Rugh’s decision would affect Gallagher’s trial, which is scheduled to begin June 10. The judge has not ruled on whether to dismiss charges of murder and attempted murder against Gallagher.