The parents of Army Maj. Matt Golsteyn, a Special Forces soldier charged with pre-meditated murder in Afghanistan, said Tuesday they support President Donald Trump’s review of their son’s case, despite the unusual nature of the President’s involvement.
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know what the implications might be as far as the law is concerned, but he is the commander in chief,” Jerry Golsteyn told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.” “If he feels that action is not being taken in a proper way, as he learns more about this situation, we are in favor of him doing whatever he feels is necessary. So we would encourage his involvement.”
Agreeing with her husband, Nancy Golsteyn said the Constitution “gives the President the lawful right to intervene in this kind of situation.”
Trump’s involvement in the case is an unusual move, since the commander in chief does not usually weigh in on ongoing cases to avoid undue influence on the process and risk prejudicing a jury.
In a Sunday tweet, Trump said that he would be “reviewing” the case of Golsteyn, whom he called a “Military hero.”
“He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas,” he wrote.
Golsteyn has been charged in a 2010 killing of a suspected bombmaker in Afghanistan as part of a battle in Helmand Province. His lawyer, Philip Stackhouse, has maintained the death occurred during a mission ordered by his superiors.
The Army has been investigating the killing intermittently since 2011. The incident came up during a polygraph for a 2011 CIA job interview, The Washington Post reported, saying Golsteyn admitted to killing the bombmaker. However, Stackhouse has disputed how the admission was characterized by Army officials.
Golsteyn was on “excess leave” from the Army until last Monday, when he was called up for active duty and then charged, according to Stackhouse.