Unjustly Convicted Soldier Pardoned by Trump

In August 2013, Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance was convicted of second-degree murder. He ordered soldiers under his command to open fire on three men in Kandahar Province Afghanistan in July 2012. The result was a 19-year sentence in a military prison.

On Friday, Nov. 15th, President Trump pardoned him and ordered him released from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas after serving six years in prison.

So, why did Lorance get off early after his sentencing?
The Case
During the trial, testimony from the official record said that Lorance’s platoon was on patrol when a motorcycle approached them. Lorance gave the order to shoot after the men were told to leave by the Afghan soldiers on patrol with them. Two of the men were killed and one was wounded, who got away.

Lorance’s platoon members testified against him. Lorance never fired his weapon but did admit to ordering his soldiers to fire.

He had only been with the platoon for a few days after taking over for the former platoon officer who was wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). In addition, another platoon leader and four soldiers were killed in action in separate incidents in the days leading up to the time of Lorance’s order to shoot.

However, in a 2017 petition to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, evidence showing that the Afghan soldiers on patrol with Lorance’s platoon had fired first wasn’t presented to the jury. The Army had rejected revealing this evidence.

In response to the actions of the Afghan soldiers, Lorance had only then ordered his soldiers to fire. One of them was carrying an IED and one of the deceased soldiers knew insurgents involved in engagements against US forces. In addition, it was reported that the man who fled was involved in insurgent activities towards US forces after the incident.

Clearly, Lorance had more going for him than was initially reported.
Lorance on His Experience
In his first interview since being pardoned by Trump, Lorance said, “I can’t say enough. You know. I’m so happy to be an American. I’m just so glad that we’re part of this amazing country. And it’s got such great, impassioned leadership, and it’s amazing.”

Before his release, Lorance said he had an opportunity to talk with President Trump by phone.

“President Trump is somebody that sees something that’s wrong and fixes it and doesn’t care whose feelings it hurts and that’s what I learned when I was talking to him on the phone. He said something along the lines of — this is going to make a lot of people irritated at me. But I don’t care. And to tell you the truth, small towns across America… that’s what they want in their Commander in Chief. That’s what I want in my Commander in Chief. Somebody that will see something that’s broken and fix it.”
-Clint Lorance

This brave soldier argues that the military justice system is broken and that he personally knows others who are wrongly serving prison sentences. “I know President Trump is not going to give up on them,” Lorance said.

The pardon has restored Lorance’s faith in America and the American people. He said of the experience:

“It turned me into a better person and gave me the opportunity to get closer to this country, little tiny towns around the country, all over the place — they’re packed full of awesome people. Going through something like that, they reach out to you through the mail. And it really reminds you of how amazing this country is that we live in. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate President Trump and Vice President Pence. And I just — I love them. They’re awesome. They’re great people.”

We couldn’t agree more.

By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor

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