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  • U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Realtors' Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington

    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Realtors' Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 May 2019

Trump requested the immediate preparation of paperwork needed, indicating he is considering pardons for the men around Memorial Day on May 27, the report said, citing two unnamed U.S. officials.

U.S. President Donald Trump has asked for files to be prepared on pardoning several U.S. military members accused of or convicted of war crimes, including one slated to stand trial on charges of shooting unarmed civilians while in Iraq, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

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According to the New York Times, the U.S. President requested the immediate preparation of paperwork needed, indicating he is considering pardons for the men around Memorial Day on May 27. Citing two unnamed U.S. officials, the NYT reported that assembling pardon files normally takes months, but the Justice Department has pressed for the work to be completed before that holiday weekend.

One of the requests is for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of the Navy SEALs, who is scheduled to stand trial in coming weeks on charges of shooting unarmed civilians and killing an enemy captive with a knife while deployed in Iraq.

Also believed to be included is the case of Major Mathew Golsteyn, an Army Green Beret accused of killing an unarmed Afghan in 2010, the Times said.

Legal experts cited in the report said that pardoning several accused and convicted war criminals, including some who have not yet gone to trial, has not been done in recent history, and some worried such pardons could erode the legitimacy of military law.

Trump recently pardoned Michael Behenna, a U.S. soldier who was convicted of murdering an Al-Qaeda suspect in Iraq. 

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