The Army has denied reinstatement to the Green Berets to a soldier who was charged with the murder of an Afghan man, but later pardoned by President Trump, the soldier’s lawyer told The Post.
Retired Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn received clemency from Trump in November as he faced trial for the murder of an Afghan man while deployed in Marja, Afghanistan, in 2010. But he learned Thursday that his attempt to restore his membership to the elite Green Berets was denied, his lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse said Thursday.
Stackhouse framed the denial, which is not final, as a “complete contravention” of Trump’s wishes.
“[Golsteyn] was told he had a full and unconditional pardon,” Stackhouse said. “And the Army basically said, no. They’re not going to do it.”
Golsteyn has admitted to the shooting and killing of a suspected bomb-maker but has maintained it occurred in a lawful ambush. Though Golsteyn has acknowledged the suspect was not included in a list of people forces are authorized to kill without following rules of engagement, The New York Times reported.
After the initial investigation into the killing was launched, the Army stripped him of his Special Forces tab, and rescinded a medal that the Army had approved for him but had not yet presented, The Times reported.
A UN spokesman in November called the pardoning of Golsteyn and another Army officer accused of a war crime “particularly troubling” for cutting off the judicial process.
Lt. Gen. Francis Beaudette, the commander of the United States Army Special Operations Command, made the decision to deny Golsteyn’s request on Dec. 3, but only informed Golsteyn on Thursday, Stackhouse said.
Beaudette’s decision to deny the restoration of what’s known as Golsteyn’s Special Forces tab came after a “thorough review,” according to a statement from an Army spokesperson that did not elaborate on the commander’s rationale.
The Army Board for Correction of Military Records will now review Beaudette’s requests, the spokesperson said.
But Stackhouse fears that process could take years. He plans to raise the issue up to the White House in an effort to get the attention of Trump and others present during the pardon, including Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.