Tags: bowe bergdahl | seeks | dismissal | trump | comments

Bowe Bergdahl Seeks Dismissal Over 40 of Trump's Comments

Image: Bowe Bergdahl Seeks Dismissal Over 40 of Trump's Comments

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves the courthouse after his arraignment. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP, File)
 

By    |   Monday, 13 Feb 2017 12:45 PM

Bowe Bergdahl's attorneys will ask a military judge this week to dismiss desertion charges against the Army sergeant because of 40 comments made by President Donald Trump that they charge violated his due process and were biased.

Bergdahl's legal team claimed that Trump has made what it considered biased comments against their client for years and those comments will prevent him to getting a fair trial, reported the Fayetteville Observer. Prosecutors, though, said Trump was unable to affect the case as a private citizens and it was premature to dismiss the case before jury selection.

Bergdahl walked off an isolated Afghanistan post in 2009 and was held by the Taliban for five year before being released in May 2014 in a controversial exchange during the Obama administration for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay, reported CNN.

He is facing charges of desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty and misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place, according to the Observer. The charge of misbehavior before the enemy could land him in prison for life.

Defense attorneys are expected to argue that Trump repeatedly called Bergdahl a "traitor" among other harsh comments and that potential jurors may feel obligated to agree with the new president, reported The Associated Press.

In court documents, Bergdahl's legal team cited more than 40 times Trump criticized their client in public appearances and media interviews through August 2016.

Prosecutors argued that Trump's comments, like suggestions that he should be thrown out of a plane, amounted to nothing more than campaign rhetoric and should not be taken literally.

"All of the comments attributed to President Trump were made prior to his election, when he held no position of any kind relating to the government or military," prosecutors said in response, stated the Observer.

"As a result, his comments are incapable of constituting (unlawful command influence). Even assuming they could constitute apparent (unlawful command influence), no objective observer, aware of the context of the comments, would harbor any concern about the fairness of the proceedings."

Last year, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals granted Bergdahl's defense access to thousands of pages of classified information and cleared the way for his court-martial to proceed, said CNN.

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Bowe Bergdahl's attorneys will ask a military judge this week to dismiss desertion charges against the Army sergeant because of 40 comments made by President Donald Trump that they charge violated his due process and were biased.
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Monday, 13 Feb 2017 12:45 PM
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