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Trump pardons former U.S. soldier convicted of killing Iraqi prisoner

President Trump speaks.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump has granted a full pardon to Michael Behenna, a former U.S. soldier convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: Behenna was originally sentenced to 25 years in prison for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing Ali Mansur Mohamed, which was later reduced to 15 years. The former Army first lieutenant has long said he acted in self-defense.

The big picture: Behenna was paroled in 2014 and had been scheduled to remain on parole until 2024. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter petitioned the White House for the pardon.

What they're saying: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the highest appeal court "noted concern about how the trial court had handled Mr. Behenna's claim of self-defense."

"Mr. Behenna’s case has attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, and the public. ... Further, while serving his sentence, Mr. Behenna was a model prisoner. In light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving of this Grant of Executive Clemency."