Judge to decide Trump impact in US Army deserter Bergdahl's case

25 October, 2017, 01:10 | Author: Nina Hammond
  • Bowe Bergdahl: The US treated me worse than the Taliban

A military judge at Fort Bragg in North Carolina was set to hear the case Monday.

Before delivering the sentence, a judge will consider a last-minute defense that suggests that the comments made by Trump have tainted the ruling.

The defense showed footage of Trump talking last week and video from December 2015 when then-candidate Trump lambasted Bergdahl and the deal that got him sprung from the Taliban. "They got what they wanted", Bergdahl said.

Bergdahl faces a maximum sentence of life in prison after pleading guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. But Nance had also assured Bergdahl's defense team that they could raise the issue again if Trump commented publicly on the case.

"Well, I can't comment on Bowe Bergdahl because he's - as you know, they're - I guess he's doing something today, as we know".

But Maj. Justin C. Oshana, the prosecutor, argued that Trump's Rose Garden response - "but I think people have heard my comments in the past" - did not amount to improper influence. He called the prosecutor's argument about the latest statement "a strained interpretation".

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Bergdahl elected to be tried by a judge, not a panel of military officers, in August.

President Barack Obama brought Bergdahl home in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, saying the US does not leave behind service members.

"I don't have any doubt whatsoever that I can be fair and impartial in the sentencing in this matter", Nance told the AP.

Bergdahl's defense team filed a last-minute motion on October 23 to completely dismiss the case against him, citing past statements in which Trump had referred to the sergeant as "a no-good traitor who should have been executed" during his presidential campaign. Officials who had at first praised the soldier's rescue criticized then-President Barack Obama's decision to free five Taliban members in exchange for Bergdahl, especially once details of his desertion came to light.

Many others, including members of his own platoon, say Bergdahl's disappearance placed other soldiers in Afghanistan at risk as the Army scrambled to find him. Investigators said Bergdahl suffered from schizotypal personality disorder when he left his post.

"Here, it could be the guy I pass in the corridor who's going to sign the paper that sends me away for life, " he said.

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