President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing pardons for several members of the US military who have been accused or convicted of war crimes.
One of the possible pardons is for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL who will soon be brought to trial for allegedly stabbing an enemy captive and shooting unarmed civilians in Iraq in 2017.
Both Gallagher and Golsteyn’s cases have featured prominently on Fox News, where the men have been lauded as heroes. Trump even tweeted last December he would be “reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ Major Matt Golsteyn.”
The two officials who spoke to The Times said they had not seen a complete list of people Trump may pardon, nor did they know if other members of the military were on it.
Behenna was released from prison on parole in 2014 after serving five years out of a 15-year sentence.
Legal experts fretted on Saturday that pardoning alleged war criminals — particularly ones who have not yet stood trial — would damage trust in the US military.
“These are all extremely complicated cases that have gone through a careful system of consideration. A freewheeling pardon undermines that whole system,” Gary Solis, a retired military judge, told The Times. “It raises the prospect in the minds of the troops that says, ‘Whatever we do, if we can get the folks back home behind us, maybe we can get let off.'”