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Green Beret to face hearing in March for killing Taliban bomb maker in 2010

Then-Army Capt. Matthew L. Golsteyn in Afghanistan in 2010. (Office of Rep. Duncan Hunter/Released)
January 21, 2019

A court hearing date has been set for Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, the Green Beret accused of murdering a Taliban bomb maker in 2010.

Golsteyn will appear in court on March 14 for a preliminary Article 32 hearing to determine if enough evidence exists to proceed with a court-martial, according to a news release by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command last week.

“This is an initial step towards determining whether Major Mathew Golsteyn violated Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Premediated Murder,” the release stated.

“This will be Matt’s first opportunity to face witnesses who claim to have information that is incriminating against him,” Golsteyn’s attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, told Task & Purpose. “The additional time also allows Matt to complete obligations he had accepted with the International Association of Fire Fighters – where he has served as the chief operating officer for approximately two – years, until his status in the Army was unilaterally changed with no due process rights.”

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The decision was made last month – on Dec. 18, 2018 – though news of the hearing has only just surfaced. The hearing will take place at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“Major Golsteyn has been, and will continue to be, provided with the respect and privileges his rank commands while awaiting completion of the just legal process,” the release added.

In a statement issued through his attorney in November 2018, Golsteyn said, “If it’s true [the Army] now want[s] to prosecute me for allegations that have already been resolved — this vindictive abuse of power must know no limit.”

His wife, Julie Golsteyn, appeared on Fox & Friends last month, during which she said, “He was lucky enough to survive war and has come home to be ripped apart by his own government and the Army leadership. It is extremely disappointing and absolutely reprehensible what they have done to him.”

Hours after Julie Golsteyn’s defense of her husband, President Donald Trump tweeted a vow to review Golsteyn’s case.

“At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder. He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas,” Trump said.

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During a job interview with the CIA in 2010, Golsteyn first admitted that he’d killed the bomb maker. He said he believed he was obeying the rules of engagement for killing the militant due to the bomb components surrounding the man, which made him an “armed combatant.”

Additionally, he said he knew ahead of time that the militant was responsible for two other U.S. service members’ deaths and making bombs, proving to be “a demonstrated threat to my guys,” Golsteyn had told investigators.

After a subsequent investigation, he was cleared of wrongdoing in 2015 when the Army determined there was insufficient evidence to charge him, and subsequently closed the investigation.

The case remained closed until Golsteyn’s Oct. 2016 appearance on Fox News with Brett Baer, during which he admitted killing the bomb maker after he identified the militant as the person responsible for the bomb making and U.S. service member deaths.

“It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with the coalition forces, when identified, will suffer some terrible torture or be killed,” Golsteyn told Baer at the time.

The murder charge against Golsteyn was announced in December 2018, two years after the Army was supposed to be deciding whether he would be retired or separated from the branch.