A six man Navy jury acquitted Julio Huertas in the Navy Seal abuse case in Iraq. Huertas, along with two other Seals, had been accused of abusing the suspected terrorist mastermind of the 2004 murder of 4 Blackwater security contractors. Julio Huertas was charged with dereliction of duty and impeding an investigation.

Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas was found not guilty on charges that he covered up the alleged abuse of Ahmed Hashim Abed. Abed was photographed with a cut on his lip after being detained by the Seals.

Huertas said it felt like “a big weight off his shoulders”, saying that compared to the physical challenges that Seals go through this was much more mentally challenging. He also hopes to return to his Seal team soon.

During the trial, Julio Huertas’ lawyer cast reasonable doubt that Abed was even beaten in the first place. Despite the cut on his lip, there were no traces of abuse; no bruises or cuts in any other areas. Some feel like the Navy Seal abuse case is nothing more than retribution for the alleged atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

With the acquittal of Julio Huertas in the Navy Seal abuse case one leg of this three stage show trial is complete. Up next is the trial of Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe who is charged the same as Huertas. Finally will be the trial of Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe who is charged with actually striking Abed.