The implication to me seemed to be that if he had in fact gone to Red Alert before jettisoning the pod, then he would've been deemed justified in doing so, even if Finney was still in there.
Forgot to comment on this one...
I don't think Kirk ever thought he would be launching Finney into space (and certain death there) - not even during or after jettisoning the pod. I don't think anybody thought that this would be admissible under any circumstances, either. Kirk said he gave Finney every second he would have needed for getting out of the pod - and after the incident, he initiated a shipwide, shipboard
search for Finney, not a search for the pod, clearly with the implication that he thought Finney would have gotten out.
Kirk might have been negligient in not verifying that Finney really got out. But he did give Finney that very command, before which he had heard Finney making all sorts of A-okay comments, and after which things got busy and Kirk had to use his trigger finger for doing multiple things, including commanding red alert and then completing the mission by launching the pod. Cogley might have based his defense on Finney not obeying orders and thus causing his own death, but of course he didn't want to go that route.
have been worried about the safety of his ship, but not at the expense of safety of Finney. It wouldn't be a case of "Red alert -> pod must go or else ship suffers", but of "Ship is suffering -> red alert -> now-or-never for pod launch -> pod launch and retreat to safety".