An Army board of inquiry has recommended a general discharge for a decorated former Green Beret, finding no clear evidence the soldier violated the rules of engagement while deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.
The government had sought an other-than-honorable discharge.
"It makes no sense. It's a defective finding." Stackhouse told Army Times. "They nicked him for conduct unbecoming with no specific findings."
Army Times sought a response from McHugh and received the following from Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ben Garrett:
Then-Capt. Mathew l. Golsteyn is congratulated by fellow soldiers following his valor award ceremony in 2011.
Photo Credit: James Robinson/The Fayetteville Observer
Stackhouse said the appeal will be filed after the full transcript of the hearing is assembled, which could take over a month. In the meantime, he said, Golsteyn's discharge will proceed in parallel to the medical board process in determining the specifics of retirement benefits.
Stackhouse said Golsteyn remains unavailable for interviews, but did say that his client felt betrayed by the Army over the past few years.
"It's very fair to say he feels betrayed. We talked about that today. I also think that he feels vindicated by the testimony that has been presented: that there was witness after witness after witness after witness that testified to his moral courage, his decision-making and his character," Stackhouse said.
No physical evidence was found in the Army investigation (of which the Army Times acquired a redacted version). Golsteyn allegedly admitted in the videotaped interview with the CIA that he shot, buried, dug up and burned the body of the victim after the victim identified and threatened an Afghan informant.
However, tests of multiple burn pits came up negative for human remains, according to the investigation. Witnesses also provided no corroboration to the allegation, and most also effused praise for Golsteyn's character and capabilities.
One member of the task force commanded by Golsteyn said: "Myself and pretty much anyone on our team would walk through fire for him." In the most negative statement, the investigator documented a major saying "Maj. Golsteyn was Type-A personality and could be very aggressive at times," though he knew nothing of any criminal or negligent activity.