Tags: bowe bergdahl | donald trump | comments | judge | court martial

Military Judge: Trump Used Bergdahl as 'Tool' to Get to White House

Image: Military Judge: Trump Used Bergdahl as 'Tool' to Get to White House

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (AP Photo/Ted Richardson, File)

Monday, 13 Feb 2017 07:02 PM

President Donald Trump's disparaging campaign remarks about accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are "disturbing," the military judge overseeing the soldier's court-martial said Monday.

During a pretrial hearing at Fort Bragg, N.C., the judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, was especially concerned about Trump's pledge to review the case if elected — a comment that could be a "black eye" on the public's confidence in the court-martial process, Stars and Stripes reported.

According to the military news outlet, Nance has to determine whether some 60 Trump comments made between June 2014 and August 2016 — like calling Bergdahl "a dirty, rotten traitor" and suggesting he should be executed or dropped from an airplane to ISIS — affect the soldier's right to a fair trial.

"President Trump decided to use Sgt. Bergdahl as a tool in his quest for the White House," said Bergdahl's lead lawyer, Eugene Fidell, Stars and Stripes reported. "It is perfectly clear there has never been a case like this."

Prosecutors dismissed Trump's statements as campaign rhetoric, but Fidell disagreed.

"President Trump has assured the country that he does not kid," Fidell said. "How odd would it be if . . . on one breath he's expected to be taken with the upmost seriousness and on the other was thought simply to be kidding."

Lead prosecutor Justin Oshana argued Trump's criticism of Bergdahl was aimed mostly at President Barack Obama's deal to trade five senior Taliban leaders for Bergdahl.

"Trump is certainly not the only one to criticize the deal," Oshana said, the outlet reported.

Bergdahl remains on active duty in a desk job at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. His court-martial on charges of desertion, and a more serious misbehavior before the enemy, is set to start April 18.

Nance didn't say when he might issue a ruling.

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President Donald Trump's disparaging campaign remarks about accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are "disturbing," the military judge overseeing the soldier's court-martial said Monday.
bowe bergdahl, donald trump, comments, judge, court martial
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2017-02-13
Monday, 13 Feb 2017 07:02 PM
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