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May 6, 2019

Michael Behenna Secures Pardon from President Donald J. Trump


On May 6, 2019, the White House announced that President Trump had issued a full pardon to Michael C. Behenna.  Mr. Behenna was a young and accomplished Army Lieutenant, who killed a suspected terrorist during an interrogation in a war zone in Iraq.  According to U.S. Army intelligence, the man Lt. Behenna killed was suspected to have been part of an al Qaeda cell responsible for a massive brutal IED attack on April 21, 2008, that killed two brothers-in-arms, Sgt. Adam Kohlhaas and Sgt. Steven Christofferson.  He was convicted of unpremeditated murder.  The circumstances of his case and trial remained controversial because the prosecution failed to timely disclose exculpatory information that corroborated Michael’s trial testimony that he shot the man in self-defense after the man threw a rock at him and came for his gun.  In the White House press release, the President cited the broad support Mr. Behenna received from the public, including former Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation, and a number of retired generals and admirals, as well as his good behavior since his release from Fort Leavenworth in 2014, following five years in prison.  He now works as a rancher in his home state of Oklahoma.  Mr. Behenna was represented in the effort to secure this pardon by the King & Spalding team of John C. Richter, Daniel C. Sale, and Matthew R. Weybrecht.  The team also received valuable assistance from Governor Robert Ehrlich (who wrote a letter of support to the President); attorneys Kerrie C. Dent, J. Blake Cunningham, Abby L. Parsons, and Kelli Gulite; and support specialists Jevon Frank and Christene M. Conley.