Staffer for Rep. Matt Gaetz was previously convicted of a war crime
A former sergeant in the US Army National Guard who was convicted of a war crime for fatally shooting an Afghan civilian in the head now works on military policy in Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) office.
Derrick Miller, who served eight years in a military prison for premeditated murder of a civilian, began working as a legislative aide for Gaetz in Sept. 2022.
Miller’s war crime took place in eastern Afghanistan in September of 2010, according to military prosecutors, who argued during a three-day court-martial that he took another soldier’s weapon, straddled Atta Mohammed on the ground and then shot him.
The sergeant’s defense attorney Charles Gittins said in opening statements that Miller shot Mohammed in self-defense after the 60-year-old electrician wandered through a US defensive perimeter and reached for the 9mm pistol Miller was holding as he interrogated him.
However, a witness in the case, a fellow Guardsman, testified that he heard Miller threatening to kill Mohammed, who was on his back, if he did not tell the truth. And a military prosecutor said during closing arguments that immediately after he fired a bullet into Mohammed’s skull, MIller stated, “I shot him. He was a liar.”
Miller told the Army Times in 2019 that within an hour after the shooting, his unit was attacked, suggesting that Mohammed may have been a Taliban scout.
In 2011, Miller was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of premeditated murder of a civilian.
In April 2018, Miller’s case was brought before a clemency board and his sentence was reduced to 20 years.
After serving eight years at the US Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, MIller was paroled in February 2019.
A spokesman for Gaetz told The Post on Tuesday that Miller was “wrongfully convicted.”
“We proudly stand with our Military Legislative Assistant Derrick Miller. He was wrongfully convicted and served our country with honor,” the spokesman said in a statement.
“Over the course of nearly a decade, members of Congress, multiple advocacy groups, and over 16,000 individuals on a petition have all signaled their support for clearing his name and recognizing him as innocent of charges imposed by a weaponized military injustice system under President Obama,” the statement continued.
“Mr. Miller advises our office on many matters, including ways to make the military justice system consistent with our constitutional principles and values,” Gaetz’s spokesman said.
This isn’t Miller’s first job on Capitol Hill.
He previously worked as a military adviser for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) from July 2019 to September of last year.
Miller did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.