White House Reviewing Case of Green Beret Accused of Murder, Trump Says

October 12, 2019 Updated: October 13, 2019

The White House is currently reviewing the case of a former U.S. Army Green Beret who is accused of murdering an alleged terrorist bomb-maker during a deployment in Afghanistan in 2010, President Donald Trump announced.

“The case of Major Mathew Golsteyn is now under review at the White House,” Trump said in an Oct. 12 Twitter post. “Mathew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bombmaker. We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”

Golsteyn faces a murder charge for the 2010 killing of an Afghan man, a detainee he suspected of being a bomb-maker for the Taliban terrorist group.

Charges against Golsteyn had previously been dismissed through an administrative process, according to his attorney, Phillip Stackhouse. But in 2018, Golsteyn was formally charged with murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death, after investigators reopened his case, following Golsteyn’s admission to a “version of the incidents” regarding the killing of the alleged bomb-maker, during an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier in 2016, according to The Army Times.

During a CIA polygraph test, administered when Golsteyn was applying for a job at the spy agency, he also acknowledged fatally shooting the man.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command said in a statement in 2018 that Golsteyn’s immediate commander “has determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant the preferral of charges against him,” the news website reported. Golsteyn pleaded not guilty to the charges in June.

“These allegations were alleged to have taken place almost 10 years ago and were resolved by Lieutenant General Beaudette’s predecessor by a board of inquiry, wherein the “derogatory activity” was not supported by even a preponderance of the evidence,” Stackhouse wrote in a statement at the time, according to the Army Times.

“It’s very disappointing the Army would be taking this action now, 10 years later in North Carolina when the U.S. Marine Corps Commanders tactically in charge of Major Golsteyn and on the ground in Marjah, Afghanistan, at the time of the allegation accepted his decision-making and supported his decision-making after the allegations and support his decision making today.”

Last December after Golsteyn was charged, Trump announced that the White House would be reviewing his case while calling the man a “U.S. military hero.”

“At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder. He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Golsteyn, a captain at the time, earned a Silver Star medal for heroism in leading an 80-man unit in a battle with the Taliban in Marjah, Afghanistan, in February 2010. Golsteyn repeatedly exposed himself to the enemy while rescuing a wounded Afghan fighter and called in airstrikes on the terrorists’ position, according to Stackhouse.

The Army revoked Golsteyn’s medal in 2015, after he was investigated for the killing.

Trump was reportedly considering issuing a pardon for Golsteyn in May, but hasn’t made that decision, according to The New York Times.

Ivan Pentchoukov and Reuters contributed to this report.

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