A former US special forces soldier mentioned in what was described as a videotaped confession aired on Venezuelan TV Wednesday that he was promised as much as $100,000 to steer a mercenary military in a wild raid to oust the nation’s president, Nicolas Maduro.
Luke Denman, 34, who was taken into custody through the botched assault, mentioned he was recruited for the coup attempt in December by controversial ex-Inexperienced Beret Jordan Goudreau to coach dozens of combatants and safe a Caracas airport in order that Maduro could possibly be returned to the US.
Requested who commanded “Jordan,” Denman answered, “President Donald Trump.”
“I used to be serving to Venezuelans take again management of their nation,” Denman mentioned on the video. “Securing the sector, establishing outer safety, communication with the tower, bringing in planes, one of which incorporates one to place Maduro on and take him again to the US.”
Requested what his goal was, he mentioned, “The one directions that I obtained from Jordan was to make sure that we took management of an airport for secure passage for Maduro and the receiving of arms.”
Maduro, who launched the video on Venezuela’s teleSUR-TV information community, hailed it as a smoking gun to show the White Home was behind the raid.
“That is the primary public declaration given by this captured North American Marine,” he mentioned.
Trump mentioned this week the US performed no function within the assault.
“I simply obtained data on that,” the president advised reporters Tuesday. “We simply heard about it. However no matter it’s, we’ll let you realize. Nevertheless it has nothing to do with our authorities.”
A senior administration official advised The Publish Wednesday that Maduro’s declare of US involvement within the raid was “comical.”
“As President Trump, (Protection) Secretary (Mark) Esper, and Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo have mentioned, the US authorities was not concerned within the current occasions alleged in Venezuela,” the official mentioned.
“Assertions on the contrary usually are not credible, and actually, they’re nearly comical,” he mentioned. “A US operation would have appeared a lot completely different.”
Denman and one other former special forces member, Airan Berry, 41, had been taken into custody at gunpoint after the failed assault on the coastal metropolis of La Guaira.
Goudreau has taken credit score for establishing the failed assault.
Denman and Berry fought collectively in Afghanistan and Iran, based on an investigative report on the operation revealed by the Related Press on Friday.
Based on the video, Denman, of Austin, Texas, flew to Colombia with Berry on Jan. 16 to start coaching as many as 60 mercenaries. He mentioned they had been pushed to Riohacha, a metropolis in northern Colombia, and stayed in two secure homes through the planning.
He mentioned he was recruited to coach the small squad in “planning, mission planning and tactical work inside buildings.”
Denman, who mentioned he spent 5 years in special forces, later left the army and went into personal safety, “recognized in some locations as mercenary work.”