Last year, Rep. Duncan Hunter made an unanswered plea to then-President Obama to pardon 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who is serving 19 years in military prison for ordering the killings of Afghan civilians.
Now that a new administration is in place, he is renewing his effort, he told Army Times on Wednesday.
"During a televised interview, you were asked about the case of wrongfully imprisoned U.S. Army Lieutenant Clint Lorance and whether you would consider the issuance of a pardon," the California Republican wrote Wednesday in a letter to President Trump.
Lorance was convicted in 2013 of two counts of second-degree murder for ordering a private first class to shoot three unarmed civilians. Two of them died while the third ran away.
The lieutenant, a platoon leader from the 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, believed the men, riding a motorcycle, were barreling toward his men in a suicide attack.
Multiple soldiers under Lorance's command testified at his trial that he was reckless, "out of control" and given to harassing local villagers.
Hunter cautioned against taking testimony of soldiers given immunity in the trial as fact, particularly because their comments spoke to his integrity and personality, rather than the facts on the ground that day.
"I don’t care whether guys didn’t like his hair or they say he was unhinged -- none of that really plays into it for me," Hunter said. "He was an officer in the U.S. Army, so how unhinged could he have been?"
As far as the soldiers without immunity who came to Army Times about Lorance's behavior in 2015, he said that conflicts with leadership are not unusual.
"I had 60 Marines under me in the war, and you probably had some of those guys that didn’t like me that much," said Hunter, who is still a Marine Reservist.
Hunter and his team will continue to advocate for Lorance, and others, he said.
He is also working on the case of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was killed in combat in 2004 but denied the Medal of Honor for his actions.