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Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a press conference on Thursday that the Navy is "looking into" the case of a SEAL acquitted of murder in 2019, reports the Washington Post.

Driving the news: On an episode of “The Line” podcast that aired Tuesday, retired Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who was accused of war crimes, told the host that an Islamic State fighter who had been imprisoned in Iraq in 2017 died from "medical treatments" he received.

  • What he's saying: “I didn’t stab that dude,” Gallagher said on the new Apple podcast this week. “That dude died from all the medical treatments that were done. And there was plenty of medical treatments that were done to him.”
  • “We killed that guy. Our intention was to kill him. Everybody was on board."

Flashback: Gallagher was accused of stabbing the Islamic State fighter and later acquitted.

  • A military jury acquitted the Navy SEAL on the murder charge, but convicted him for a photo he took in 2017 with the corpse of an ISIS fighter. The jury sentenced Gallagher to a demotion in rank.
  • Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper later said in 2019 that then-President Trump had ordered him to allow Gallagher to retire with his Trident Pin.

Why it matters: Austin's comment "marks the first time that defense officials have left the door open to reviewing the case," the Post writes.

  • Austin provided no further details.

Go deeper

29 mins ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker

University of Michigan reaches $490M settlement in sex abuse case

Jon Vaughn, a former University of Michigan and NFL football player, speaks at a press conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., in June 2021. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The University of Michigan on Wednesday reached a $490 million settlement with over a thousand survivors who allege that they were sexually assaulted by a former physician in the school's athletic department.

Driving the news: "It's been a long and challenging journey and these survivors have refused to remain silent," attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday.