Tags: Army | MathewGolsteyn | Pardon | AllegedMurder

Army Denies Medals to Soldier Pardoned by Trump for Alleged Murder

Army Denies Medals to Soldier Pardoned by Trump for Alleged Murder
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By    |   Thursday, 18 March 2021 03:11 PM

The Army has denied an appeal to return medals and a Special Forces insignia to retired Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, a soldier who was pardoned by former President Donald Trump for allegedly murdering a man while serving in Afghanistan.

The Army made its decision last June, but the news wasn't made public at the time. Documents confirming the decision were provided to USA Today and though the papers redacted Golsteyn’s name, they “make clear that he is the subject of their deliberation and his lawyer acknowledged the document’s authenticity.”

The former Green Beret was charged with the 2010 murder of a suspected bomb maker whose release had been ordered. Golsteyn stated in an interview for a job with the CIA that he had killed the man, which prompted an Army investigation and led to the murder charge. His court martial was canceled once Trump issued his pardon, however. Golsteyn filed an appeal with the Army review board in December 2019 to restore his medals, which include the Distinguished Service Cross.

The "Presidential pardon is a sign of forgiveness and 'does not indicate innocence,'” the board wrote in its determination, citing a letter from the Justice Department.

"Subject advised he elected to terminate the life of the unarmed combatant because he knew that obtaining evidence in order to convict this individual of the detonation would be 'hard to get,'" the report states, noting that Golsteyn admitted that he and another unit member disposed of the body.

The Army also denied an appeal to restore the Special Forces insignia that marked his time in the elite unit, as well as his appeal to remove a letter of reprimand from his personnel file. The letter was from the commander of Special Forces Command (Airborne), which said: "Your behavior in this matter manifests a complete lack of judgment and responsibility ... You have discredited yourself, [Army Special Operations] and the U.S. Army."

Golsteyn noted the decision was kept quiet until after Trump had left office.

"Clearly, we have seen military departments obey the direction of the Commander in Chief in other cases and, inexplicably, the Army defied the President," Golsteyn said in a statement. "It shouldn't be a surprise the findings of the Army Board were released in November 2020 and not mailed to me for 2 more months, after President Trump left office, so my case could languish in the quagmire of Presidential transition."

The researcher and author who obtained the record, Dwight Mears, a graduate of West Point and a former professor of history at the school, said the Army “may have dodged a bullet” in not releasing the report until Trump was out of the White House.

"Certainly, the Army had an incentive to avoid antagonizing the president here," he said. "It’s certainly possible Trump could have attempted to overrule the [board], which would be the worst-case scenario for the Army. He could theoretically have ordered them to rule differently, as they are all government employees."

A spokesperson for the Army, Lt. Col. Gabriel Ramirez, told The Hill in a statement: “The Army Board for Correction of Military Records, the service’s highest level of administrative review for personnel actions, has considered and denied Mathew Golsteyn’s application. Privacy laws prevent the Army from disclosing specific information regarding the Board’s decision.”

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The Army has denied an appeal to return medals and a Special Forces insignia to retired Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, a soldier who was pardoned by former President Donald Trump...
Army, MathewGolsteyn, Pardon, AllegedMurder
Thursday, 18 March 2021 03:11 PM
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