A Virginia military jury found a Navy SEAL not guilty Thursday on all charges he punched an Iraqi suspected in the 2004 killings of four U.S. contractors in Fallujah.
“I’m really happy right now,” Matthew McCabe, the Navy SEAL, told Fox News shortly after hearing the outcome of the court martial. “It’s an amazing feeling. I’m on cloud nine right now.”
McCabe, a special operations petty officer second class, called the proceedings “troubling at times,” adding “having your career on the line is not an easy thing to handle.
McCabe was the third and final Navy SEAL to be prosecuted in the case. He had faced charges of assault, making a false official statement and dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee. McCabe was accused of punching last year is Ahmed Hashim Abed, the suspected mastermind of the grisly killings six years ago.
After the court martial, the 24-year-old from Perrysburg, Ohio, thanked the public for its continued support.
“It’s been great everything they’ve done,” he told Fox News. “But, don’t worry about it anymore. We are putting this all behind us. It’s done and over with. I’m going to try not to think about this ever again.”
This follows four days of pre-trial motions, jury selection and testimony before a judge advocate general, Capt. Moira Modelewski, at naval station in Norfolk, Va.
Another one of the Navy SEALs charged, but acquitted in connection with the Abed case, Petty Officer First Class Julio Huertas, took the stand for the defense Thursday morning.
He said that he and the other two Navy SEALs, McCabe and Jonathan Keefe, did visit the detention facility where Abed was being held on the night of the alleged incident.
But, he insists, there was no assault. Huertas and Keefe were found not guilty last month in separate trials in Baghdad.
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