ALEXANDRIA, VA – After multiple delays, court-martials have now been postponed indefinitely for three Marine Raiders – Gunnery Sergeant Joshua Negron, Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Draher, and Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet – also known as the MARSOC 3.
Despite exonerating video evidence and testimony, each Raider has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, obstructing justice, and violations of orders. The charges stem from an incident that took place in Erbil, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) on New Year’s Eve, 2018.
According to video footage – and legal documents obtained from the case’s Article 32 preliminary hearing – an inebriated military contractor initiated a physical confrontation with the Raiders. After the contractor, a retired Green Beret, landed two punches and was in the process of throwing a third, one of the Raiders stepped in to defend his fellow Raider from receiving additional harm and knocked the contractor out with one punch.
After the contractor’s friends dispersed, the Raiders cared for the contractor through the night until he unexpectedly became unresponsive. Four days later medical professionals confirmed that the contractor died of complications stemming from his intoxicated state and from having choked on his own vomit.
Trial dates for Chief Eric Gilmet were originally scheduled for October 2020 only to be pushed back to March and then May 2021. As of March 30, 2021, Chief Gilmet’s Camp Lejeune, NC court-martial has been continued (postponed) indefinitely.
With the more complicated common trial, defendants are tried at the same time, but they receive separate rulings and even have separate juries. A joint trial would have seen the defendants receive the same rulings and shared the same jury.
According to a source close to the case, the reason for the trial postponement is associated with the unavailability of a key witness and medical professional who is unable to travel into the United States due to COVID-related international travel restrictions.
During the extended period of waiting to go to trial, Draher, Gilmet, and Negron have each had their security clearances suspended, promotions put on hold, been removed from their Marine Raider teams, and suffered the termination of their special duty assignment pay.
The falsely accused Raiders have now been waiting for more than two years to go to trial with no end in sight, and they need your support more than ever with their legal fees that are still being accrued.
TO DONATE IN SUPPORT OF THE MARSOC 3
Editor’s note: The headline and information within this article (originally published on March 9, 2021) was updated on April 16, 2021 to reflect the latest changes to the timeline and status of the courts-martial for GySgt Draher, GySgt Negron, and CPO Gilmet.