President Donald Trump has granted full pardons to two U.S. service members accused of war crimes, and restored the rank of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement late Friday that Trump had signed an Executive Grant of Clemency for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance and Army Major Mathew Golsteyn. Moreover, the statement said the commander-in-chief had also signed an order restoring the rank of Gallagher before he was tried and found not guilty of the charges against him.
“The president, as commander-in-chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted,” Grisham said in the statement. “For more than 200 years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country.”
“These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the president has stated, When our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight,'” she said.
Lorance was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2013 for ordering his troops to fire at three unarmed men riding motorcycles toward them at unusual speeds. Two of three men were killed in the incident. He has served 6 of the 19 years he was sentenced for the conviction.
Meanwhile, Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, was accused of murdering an alleged terrorist bomb-maker during a deployment in Afghanistan in 2010.
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 Golsteyns 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 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 iRead More – Source