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Congressman joins push to secure presidential pardon for imprisoned Army lieutenant

Just over three years into his 19-year sentence, and on his 32nd birthday, the mother of Clint Lorance, a platoon leader convicted of giving his soldiers the go-ahead to shoot and kill three unarmed Afghan civilians, is making a plea to President Obama to send her son home.

The incident happened during a 2012 Afghanistan deployment. Lorance, a first lieutenant at the time, was convicted in 2013 of two counts of second-degree murder, having ordered a private first class to shoot the civilians, two of whom died while the third ran away.

His mother, Anna Lorance, appeared on Sean Hannity's radio show Tuesday, along with her son's lawyer and Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to make her son's case. Hunter is the first lawmaker to join the call for a presidential pardon for Lorance.

Lorance's mother believes his actions allowed himself and his platoon mates from 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment to survive that interaction.

"I don't have a folded flag today. I can still see my son, but I want him home where he deserves to be," she told Hannity.

Lorance and her husband, Terry, also recorded a video segment for The Hannity Show's website.

"I think it's important to know that he never fired his weapon," defense attorney John Maher told Hannity, emphasizing that Lorance never saw the men and was operating on intelligence from his soldiers.

Forensic evidence linked DNA from the Afghan men to DNA found on detonated IEDs and explosive devices that had terrorized the unit through that deployment, according to Lorance's attorney.

Motorcycles were commonly used to scout out opportunities to attack U.S. forces, he added.

"If this motorcycle had been an IED and had detonated, Clint would have gotten a Silver Star," Hunter said.

Lorance's supporters have long pushed for his exoneration. Last year, they launched a White House petition calling for a presidential pardon for Lorance.

"The president has the chance to tell the military and our enemies that when we send our young sons and daughters into harm's way, we do not turn against them," the petition stated.

But as the fight for Lorance's freedom gained traction online and on social media, his own soldiers began to push back, they said at the time, to make sure their side of the story is told.

Supporters say Lorance was within the rules of engagement, and even justified because of the DNA ties to bomb makers, but some of the men who served with him disagreed.

In interviews last year with Army Times, several of his soldiers claimed their platoon leader was ignorant, overzealous and out of control. That he hated the Afghan people and that he had spent recent days tormenting the locals and issuing death threats.

"All these petitioners need to be shown what kind of man [Lorance] really is," said a soldier who served as a team leader in Lorance's platoon.

The soldier, who spoke to Army Times in 2015, asked to speak on background because he is still on active duty.

"This isn't a soldier that went to war and gone done wrong," he said. "This is a soldier that had a taste for blood and wanted to have that fulfilled. And he did, but in the wrong way."

But leadership painted a glowing picture, Hannity said on his show, quoting Lorance's officer evaluation reports.

The case is in the appeals process, Maher said, but it could take years for officials to re-hear the evidence and in the mean time, the family is looking to the outgoing president, who has granted 70 pardons and hundreds of commuted sentences.

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