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Trump says he’ll review murder case against ex-Army commando

In this photo taken Jan. 4, 2011, U.S Army Capt. Mathew Golsteyn is congratulated by fellow soldiers following the Valor Awards ceremony for 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C. Golsteyn, stripped of a medal for heroism under fire and his right to call himself a Green Beret is fighting for his military career after accusations he tracked down and killed a suspected bomb-maker in Afghanistan. Though a criminal investigation failed to find remains of his alleged victim and didn’t result in charges against Golsteyn, he’s been targeted for possible dismissal from the Army and the consequent loss of veteran’s benefits with a less-than-honorable discharge. (James Robinson/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he will be “reviewing” the case of a former U.S. Army commando being charged with murder, raising questions about the possibility he could jeopardize the ongoing military legal proceedings.

Trump tweeted that “at the request of many” he will examine allegations that Mathew Golsteyn hunted down and killed a suspected bomb-maker in Afghanistan. The president tweeted that Golsteyn is a “U.S. Military hero” who could face the death penalty “from our own government.”

Any review or intervention by Trump could constitute unlawful command influence and could threaten the case against the former Green Beret.

In a statement Sunday, Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said that “the allegations against Major Matt Golsteyn are a law enforcement matter. The Department of Defense will respect the integrity of this process and provide updates when appropriate.”

Trump and other senior military and administration leaders have issued statements about military criminal cases in the past, triggering legal appeals and other complications as the courts work to insure impartial proceedings. The president, however, does have broad authority to pardon criminal defendants.

An Army statement on Friday said Golsteyn was charged with killing the Afghan during Golsteyn’s 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. Golsteyn was leading a team of Army Special Forces troops at the time, and believed that the bomb-maker was responsible for an explosion that killed two U.S. Marines.

The Golsteyn case has bounced around since 2011 when he told the CIA in a job interview that he’d shot and killed the man.

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