Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, a decorated former Green Beret who has been charged in the death of a suspected Taliban bomber, defended his actions on Sunday ahead of an Article 32 hearing next month.
During an interview on "Fox & Friends," Golsteyn said he is facing a minimum of life in prison or the death penalty if he is found guilty of premeditated murder — a charge he disputed vigorously.
"Over these years, what the U.S. Army seems to be intent on doing is characterizing an ambush as murder. Those routine combat actions are now being characterized as murder," Golsteyn told "Fox & Friends."
Golsteyn said the Army has kept him from his legal counsel and his family by restricting him to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
"We’re seeing just how malicious and vindictive the Army is being," his wife, Julie, said in the "Fox & Friends" interview. "They’re trying to separate us as a family, keep Matt from his legal counsel, even going so far as to break us financially."
The Army provided the following statement to Fox News on Sunday:
"On December 18, 2018, it was decided that Maj. Mathew Golsteyn will proceed to an Article 32 Preliminary Hearing, scheduled to start on Thursday, March 14, 2019, on Fort Bragg, N.C. The primary purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there is enough probable cause that Maj. Golsteyn violated Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Premediated Murder. Since recalled to active duty, Maj. Golsteyn has been afforded the respect his rank commands and privileges as any Soldier assigned to United States Army Special Operations Command. To protect Maj. Golsteyn's rights and maintain integrity of the legal process, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the case prior to the outcome of the Article 32 hearing."
Golsteyn, who faced years of on-and-off investigations after an incident that is said to have taken place during his 2010 deployment, was initially cleared by a military tribunal two years ago. However, the investigation into his actions was re-opened after he spoke with Fox News' Bret Baier.
As Fox News previously reported, Golsteyn was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Group in 2010. Two Marines in his unit during that time were killed by hidden, booby-trapped explosives.
Golsteyn and his men later found a suspected Taliban bomb maker nearby — though he was not on a list of targets U.S. forces were cleared to kill, Fox News previously reported. After he was detained, Golsteyn said the man refused to talk to investigators.
Under the rules of engagement, Golsteyn was ordered to release him, but he was worried that if he did so, the suspect would have targeted Afghans who were helping American soldiers.
“There's limits on how long you can hold guys,” he told Fox News' Bret Baier in 2016. “You realize quickly that you make things worse. It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with coalition forces, when identified, will suffer some terrible torture or be killed.”
Golsteyn told Fox News he killed the suspected bomb maker.
The case in December prompted a tweet from President Trump, who wrote that Golsteyn "could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas."
Golsteyn on Sunday said that Trump's tweet gave his son a "sense of relief" because "someone was paying attention and cared about his dad."
"They’re not looking for the truth. They’re not seeking justice. This is wrong what they are doing to him. Matt served his country and loves his country," Julie Golsteyn said. "It’s heartbreaking for me, as his wife, to watch him be dragged down by his own command."
Fox News’ Greg Norman, Barnini Chakraborty and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.