Michael Behenna Thanks President Trump After Receiving Pardon
The Oklahoma soldier pardoned by President Trump earlier this week says he feels vindicated.
Michael Behenna, a former Army Ranger, was convicted of killing a suspected member of Al-Qaeda. He spoke to reporters on Wednesday morning and started out by thanking President Trump. Behenna says the pardon was something the president didn’t have to do, and he certainly didn’t expect the president to personally call him about the decision.
Michael Behenna was paroled in 2014 and has been living in Guthrie. That's where he was headed on Monday afternoon around 2:30. He was talking to his dad on the phone.
“And I get a call on the other line and it’s from a number I didn’t recognize,” he recalled. “I thought it was a solicitor or something.”
He had no idea, that call was one he had been waiting on for two years.
“The message said, ‘Lt. Behenna this is Molly from the White House, President Trump’s office. The president would like to talk to you. So, when you have time please give me a call back.’” Behenna laughed.
He and his attorneys had been seeking a pardon on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. They say the government didn't reveal to jurors or defense attorneys that their forensic witnesses agreed that Behenna killed the Iraqi man in self-defense.
“He says Michael, this is President Trump. At this time, I have tears in my eyes and my heart is beating fast. I’m smiling from ear to ear,” said Behenna.
He says the pardon from the president finally vindicated their argument.
“He says that your record is going to be wiped completely clean, and you’re going to receive a pardon and you deserve it,” he continued.
“He called me back, and said I’m a free man,” said Behenna’s dad Scott, who didn’t believe it.
“I was like no, 35 years in law enforcement, no that didn’t happen. In fact, I asked for the number that he called from and I called it back,” said Scott.
Now that he's pardoned, Behenna doesn't have to register with a violent offender or check in with his parole officer. He can also now vote.