U.S. President Donald Trump says he will review the case of a decorated Special Forces veteran accused of murder in the 2010 killing of a suspected Taliban bombmaker in Afghanistan.
The U.S. leader said that "at the request of many," he would weigh the murder charge against Major Matthew Golsteyn, a former U.S. Army Green Beret. In Trump's word's, Golsteyn "could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bombmaker while overseas."
Trump called Golsteyn a "U.S. military hero."
The military has been investigating the circumstances of the death of the suspected bombmaker for several years, dropping its investigation in 2014, then reopening it in 2016 after Golsteyn said in a Fox News interview that he killed the bombmaker, who had been detained, in combat operations in Marjah, Afghanistan. Golsteyn said he killed the man out of fear that if he were let go he would target Afghans assisting U.S. troops. The suspected Taliban bombmaker was accused of killing two U.S. Marines.
Trump's statement could complicate prosecution of the criminal charges against Golsteyn, since Trump is the commander in chief of U.S. forces and anything he says related to the case could influence the outcome.
Golsteyn's lawyer, Philip Stackhouse, said his client "is a humble servant-leader who saved countless lives, both American and Afghan, and has been recognized repeatedly for his valorous actions. We will be relentless in defending him."
Golsteyn has maintained that he did not violate military rules of engagement in the shooting death.
Golsteyn, according to NBC News, said in 2011 during a polygraph test when he was applying for a job at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that he and another soldier took the suspected Taliban bombmaker off base, shot him and buried him.