The Army denied an appeal to return medals for valor to retired Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, a Special Forces soldier whom former President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden faces GOP’s immigration and filibuster offensive Democrats play defense on border crisis Biden’s big difference? Diversity MORE pardoned for a killing in Afghanistan, USA Today reportedon Wednesday.
USA Today obtained documents that determined the Army decided not to return the medals to Golsteyn last June after Trump pardoned him for killing a suspected Taliban bomb maker in 2010.
Golsteyn had submitted a request to the Army review board in December 2019 asking for his Distinguished Service Cross to be reinstated after he was pardoned the previous November.
In its denial, the Army review board pointed to a Justice Department letter that said his pardon “is a sign of forgiveness and ‘does not indicate innocence,’” according to USA Today.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Gabriel Ramirez acknowledged the board’s decision to the newspaper but said privacy laws prevented him from further remarks.
USA Today noted that Golsteyn’s name was redacted in the board’s documents but that facts and issues mentioned “make clear that he is the subject of their deliberation and his lawyer acknowledged the document’s authenticity.”
Golsteyn issued a statement through his lawyer condemning the board’s conclusion and claiming Trump vowed his record would be cleared in a phone call.
“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. “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.”
His lawyer Phillip Stackhouse labeled the board’s ruling as “silly” and called on President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Congress must take bold action to prevent violent extremism The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden faces GOP’s immigration and filibuster offensive Democrats play defense on border crisis MORE to follow through with Trump’s promise. He indicated that his client had not determined whether he will take the case to federal court, according to USA Today.
An investigation was launched after Golsteyn admitted in an interview to join the CIA that he killed the bomb maker who was ordered to be released, prompting the murder charge.
In controversial moves, Trump pardoned Golsteyn and Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and reversed the demotion for Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher in November 2019.
The Army previously rejected Golsteyn’s appeal to reinstate his Special Forces tabafter his pardon. Both his Special Forces tab and his Distinguished Service Cross were taken from him in 2014.
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