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Army investigator who led Green Beret murder case pleads guilty to stolen valor charges
The Army's lead investigator in the Maj. Matthew Golsteyn murder case has pleaded guilty to charges related to wearing medals that he had not been awarded, said Fort Bragg spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Burns.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Delacruz was reduced in rank to specialist after pleading guilty at a special court-martial on Monday to making false official statements and wearing unauthorized insignia, decorations, badges, and ribbons, Burns told Task & Purpose.
Delacruz had been charged for falsely submitting a Purple Heart to his official military file and wearing the decoration along with the Pathfinder Badge and Air Assault Badge, none of which he had been officially awarded, Burns said. The former sergeant first class also certified his official military board file for promotion.
Burns declined to say whether Delacruz will be discharged or how his sentence could affect the prosecution's case against Golsteyn, who is charged with murder after repeatedly admitting that he killed an unarmed suspected Taliban bomb-maker.
Delacruz was suspended from all investigative duties when the allegations against him first emerged late last year, said Army Criminal Investigation Command spokesman Christopher Grey.
"He is now in the final stages of being eliminated from the CID program," said Grey, who also declined to comment on how Delacruz's conviction could affect the government's case against Golsteyn.
Task & Purpose was unable to reach Delacruz's attorney on Tuesday.
Golsteyn's civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse has vowed to argue that Delacruz improperly "planted the seed" of incriminating information in the minds of prosecution witnesses if the case goes to trial.
"Why would that shock anyone that I would want to get out that he's a dirty agent and he had already tainted these witnesses that are being called?" Stackhouse told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.
No trial date has been set.
The Golsteyn case has been rife with twists since February 2010, when Golsteyn allegedly killed an unarmed man in Afghanistan whom a tribal elder had identified as a Taliban bomb-maker who had killed two Marines. He first buried the man's body, but then later he and two other soldiers dug up the corpse and burned it, according to the Washington Post.
Golsteyn first acknowledged while taking a polygraph for a CIA job that he had killed the man, but Army investigators initially did not find enough evidence to charge him. That changed after Golsteyn admitted during an October 2016 interview with Fox News' Bret Baier that he had killed the suspected bomb-maker.
The Army charged Golsteyn with murder in December. Three days later, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would personally review the case, calling Golsteyn a "U.S. military hero."
For his part, Golsteyn maintains he was acting within the rules of engagement when he killed the suspected bomb-maker. In February, he told Washington Post reporter Dan Lamothe that he had legally ambushed the Afghan man, who was walking toward Taliban positions.
"He had a long walk," Golsteyn said. "He had a long time to figure out where he was going in life."
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BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.