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Army Maj. Matt Golsteyn gets Dec. trial date over death of Taliban bomb maker

Then-Army Capt. Matthew L. Golsteyn in Afghanistan in 2010. (Office of Rep. Duncan Hunter/Released)
September 16, 2019

A court-martial date has been set for Dec. 2, at which time Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will stand trial for the charge of premeditated murder of a Taliban bomb maker in 2010.

The trial will take place Dec. 2 at Fort Bragg, according to an Army press release, and Golsteyn will face the charge he was cleared of in the past after the Army determined there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges.

Golsteyn pleaded not guilty in July to the Army’s allegations that he murdered the Taliban bomb maker on Feb. 22, 2010.

Golsteyn has admitted to killing a Taliban bomb maker, whom he identified as the terrorist responsible for the deaths of two U.S. Marines he was commanding in Afghanistan, and that the act was justified during wartime.

In 2010, he admitted to the CIA during a job interview to killing a terrorist whom he said was responsible for making the bombs that killed two other U.S. service members. There was an investigation at the time, and Golsteyn was cleared of wrongdoing after the Army determined there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

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In 2016, Golsteyn appeared in a Fox News interview and admitted again to killing the terrorist bomb maker, and the Army opened a second investigation, charging Golsteyn with premeditated murder, which carries a potential life sentence in prison or the death penalty.

In March, Golsteyn waived his Article 32 hearing, which is meant to present evidence and determine whether or not a service member accused of a crime should be court-martialed. After evidence is presented, an officer is to make a recommendation to a commander on whether or not to prosecute.

In May, the Army decided that the case would move forward to a court-martial trial.

Golsteyn had been denied travel to meet with his civilian legal counsel until September ahead of the motions hearing. He has only been permitted to meet with his Army defense attorney thus far.

Golsteyn’s case previously caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who said in December 2018 that he would review the 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,” Trump had tweeted.

Trump was reportedly preparing to review pardons for Golsteyn and other service members accused of war crimes.

Trump had issued a pardon to former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, who was convicted in 2009 for killing an Iraqi prisoner. Trump also intervened to end the pre-trial confinement of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who was later cleared of murder charges related to the death of an ISIS prisoner.