Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who pleaded not guilty, remains on active duty status and is not in custody awaiting his trial date, which has not been set, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer.
Golsteyn’s arraignment this morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina came nearly a decade after the alleged incident. He was a captain at the time of his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan with 3rd Special Forces Group during some of the bloodiest fighting in the war.
In a statement provided before the hearing to Army Times, Golsteyn’ s civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse pushed back at both the charges and timing of the proceedings.
“These allegations were alleged to have taken place almost 10 years ago and were resolved by Lieutenant General Beaudette's predecessor by a board of inquiry wherein the "derogatory activity" was not supported by even a preponderance of the evidence,” Stackhouse wrote.
“It's very disappointing the Army would be taking this action now 10-years later in North Carolina when the U.S. Marine Corps Commanders tactically in charge of Major Golsteyn and on the ground in Marjah, Afghanistan at the time of the allegation accepted his decision making and supported his decision making after the allegations and support his decision making today,” he wrote.
Golsteyn waived his right to an Article 32, or preliminary hearing. That hearing was scheduled in March.
Prior to today’s arraignment the most recent development in Golsteyn’ s lengthy case came in May when the lead investigator pleaded guilty to stolen valor charges, admitting he had two specifications of violating Article 107, false official statement and three specifications of violating Article 134, wearing of unauthorized insignia, badges and ribbons, according to a statement by Lt. Col. Mike Burns, Fort Bragg Public Affairs.
Sgt. 1st Class Mark A. Delacruz wore the Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge and Purple Heart Medal, none of which he had earned. He falsely submitted a Purple Heart in his military file when he turned it in for an E-7 and above promotion board.
Initially, Golsteyn earned a Silver Star Medal, the nation’s third-highest award for valor for actions he took tracking down a sniper who was targeting his troops and assisted a wounded Afghan soldier while also coordinating multiple airstrikes.
He was awarded the medal in 2011 at Fort Bragg. But it was around that time that he also began the interview process for a job with the CIA. In that interview he admitted to killing a Taliban bombmaker. Army investigators later claimed that he told CIA interviewers he had shot the unarmed man and then he and two other soldiers retrieved the body and destroyed it in a burn pit on base.
But, Golsteyn has denied that account, saying Army investigators took a selection of a lengthy interview and misconstrued what was said to fit a narrative bent on charging him.
Golsteyn previously told Army Times that he killed a bombmaker in an ambush but that it was a lawful action. The alleged bombmaker had been detained and turned over to Afghan authorities but was soon released. He then discovered the identity of a local man who had informed coalition members about the bombmaker’s activities and feared for his life, Golsteyn said.
He cleared a board of inquiry with no criminal charges, only a recommendation that he be discharged.
His Silver Star Medal and Special Forces tab were both stripped from him following the investigation that closed in 2014.
Golsteyn has been working a civilian job, representing the International Association of Firefighters. But after he was charged in December he was required to report to Fort Bragg. Since January he’s been living in the Fort Bragg area, reporting in twice daily as he has awaited the Army’s decision.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.