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Bergdahl Lawyers Shift Tactics With Presidential Change

Bergdahl Lawyers Shift Tactics With Presidential Change

After no pardon from Obama, claim of no possibility for fair trial under Trump.

Military deserter Bowe Bergdahl was hoping for a pardon from President Obama which never came. Now that President Trump has taken office, Bergdahl’s lawyers are claiming he can’t be guaranteed a fair trial due to Trump’s prior criticism of him.

The Hill reports:

Bergdahl lawyers press for dismissal after Trump inauguration

Lawyers for former prisoner of war and Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl made good on their promise to call for his case to be dismissed based on President Trump’s campaign comments against him, filing a motion on Inauguration Day.

Trump’s comments compromise their client’s right to a fair trial, the lawyers argue, releasing a 28-minute video of times the new president has disparaged Bergdahl.

“President Trump has made it impossible for SGT Bergdahl to obtain a fair trial,” his lawyers wrote in the 57-page filing, complete with a screenshot of a Trump tweet about Bergdahl and photos of Trump pantomiming executions at this rallies. “President Trump transformed his rallies into a televised traveling lynch mob. Justice cannot be done and public confidence in military justice cannot be maintained under these circumstances.”

Bergdahl is set to face a court-martial in April on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after walking away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

Bergdahl’s legal team put together this video exhibit outlining their case. It’s pretty long but the first minute alone will give you the idea:

It’s a little surprising Bergdahl didn’t get a pardon from Obama, given the lengths he went to in order to get him back. We ran a reader poll in 2014 asking if Obama’s deal was worth it. See the results here.

The Washington Post has more:

Obama administration chose not to act on pardon request in Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion case

Obama issued 1,715 commutations to federal prisoners during his administration, surpassing the combined total of his 12 predecessors, and an additional 212 pardons. Among those whose sentences were commuted was Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. soldier who served just short of seven years of a 35-year sentence for for leaking thousands of classified documents to anti-secrecy website Wikileaks when she was deployed to Iraq as an intelligence analyst.

Manning’s commutation prompted speculation that Bergdahl also could receive legal relief from Obama. The soldier faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for leaving his patrol base in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009 in what he characterized as an attempt to draw attention to problems he saw in his unit. Bergdahl was captured within hours, smuggled over the border into Pakistan and remained in captivity until the Obama administration negotiated a trade in May 2014 in which it released five Taliban detainees.


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CaliforniaJimbo | January 22, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Since he isnt being tried by President Trump but by a court marshal with a jury of his peers, President Trumps comments mean very little in this case. He must face the music for his actions. Sorry President Obama didn’t come to your rescue. Now lets see what the trial brings.

    Wait, what? Are you simply uninformed about the context? Previous comments by sitting Presidents have led to acquittals on the basis of command interference with the court martial process.

    If there’s an avenue to attack such a motion, it is that he wasn’t President until the other day therefore his previous comments were that of a private citizen, and voiding a trial on the basis of a civilian’s comments is an extreme overreaction since a civilian’s comments cannot be construed as instructions to the military.

      Tom Servo in reply to JBourque. | January 23, 2017 at 1:15 am

      Good explanation of the issue, and good explanation why it won’t help Bergdahl.

      Mannie in reply to JBourque. | January 23, 2017 at 8:22 am

      I think that is the counter argument. I don’t know how strong it will be in action. This points out the problem of candidates commenting on pending cases.

        Tom Servo in reply to Mannie. | January 23, 2017 at 9:18 am

        If he was going to face a civilian jury, it could be argued that they had been influenced by opinions they had seen. A military tribunal, not so much. As noted, Trump made no such comments as CinC.

      Observer in reply to JBourque. | January 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Trump made his comments about Bergdahl when Trump was a private citizen. Obama, on the other hand, made his comments about Bergdahl when he was at the top of the chain of command.

      Obama invited Bergdahl’s parents to a televised Rose Garden event, where Obama pretended that Bergdahl was some kind of victim. Then Obama had his flacks go on t.v. and claim that Bergdahl had “served honorably and with distinction.” Obama knew those statements were lies, but he put them out in the public domain anyway, probably in a deliberate attempt to influence not just the public, but the military officers who would have to make the decision about what happened to Bergdahl when he returned home.

      There was attempted undue command influence in the Bergdahl case, but it wasn’t by private citizen Trump, but by Bergdahl’s Commander-in-Chief, Barry Hussein Obama.

    Courts-martial are not trials by peers. The jury will consist of officers, unless he requests an enlisted member serve on the jury. And trust me, NO defense lawyer worth his salt will recommend that to him. His best bet is the only officers they can spare to sit are a couple of new butterbars who came through a ROTC program at an elite college, and might be infested still with SJW ideals.

      Olinser in reply to gospace. | January 23, 2017 at 4:18 am

      For a trial this high profile? No way the military is sitting butterbars on this one who might screw it up.

      Mannie in reply to gospace. | January 23, 2017 at 8:24 am

      I wouldn’t expect to see anyone on a GCM panel lower than a captain.

      I agree that no one would want a crusty old SGM on his court martial board.

        Bob00 in reply to Mannie. | January 23, 2017 at 6:17 pm

        Sentenced to 400 years of picking up cigarette butts, and cleaning the head. Don’t forget your reflective belt maggot.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to gospace. | January 23, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Actually if it is a General Court Martial Or Special Court Martial he can request that 1/3rd of the jury be enlisted, but any jury will be a minimum of 5 Soldiers, but could be more than 5. How that Jury is comprised if he does choose to have Enlisted persons on his Jury is basically up to the Presiding Authority/Judge. It could be 1 E and 4 O’s, 2 E’s and 3 O’s (both would cover the 1/3rd) or They could just add 2 Enlisted to the Jury of 5 Officers.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | January 23, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        Correction to above, General court martials are a minimum jury of 5, Special court martials have a minimum of 3 jury members.

Bergdahl has two problems:

1-He’s a deserter

2-Unlike traitor Bradley Manning, Obama didn’t fantasize about having sex with him.

It didn’t work for Manson so I doubt it will work here.

The Islamic genie is back in it’s bottle and somewhere around Palms Springs. Bowe is just another deserter that put our troops in harms way due to his actions. May he look fondly on his years of previous captivity because his next will not be as gracious.

Humphrey's Executor | January 22, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I trust Trump will bring back a little something called “speedy trial.”

It is always the same. People like Bergdahl, Manning, and others commit crimes that results in others being severely injured, even killed and these miscreants could care ess because of their selfish desires that caused them to commit their crime. But once the trial starts, then all of a sudden all of us must understand and side with these criminals , feel sorry for them, and even defend them for their civil rights or whatever are being violated. These criminals did not give a rat’s patoot about the civil rights of those they hurt or got killed. I know it is against the Constitution and totally wrong according to our lews, but for once I would like to see these criminals afforded the rights they afforded their victims. Heck, I would even be happy to see these jerks man up and take their punishment without the whining and claims about them being the victim.

Undue Command Influence will be brought up, there may be some consideration, but in the end, this deserter should be making little rocks from big ones.

Robert Garwood got off with a slap on the wrist so you can’t tell how it will end.

I think Bergdahl’s lawyers are right, so let’s just skip the trial.

Warm up the firing squad.

We’re about to find out just how effective Obama was at remaking the military in his own image.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Merlin. | January 23, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    I have a question. The investigators assigned to this case basically said he did everything he is accused of, but recommended no charges be brought against him, ostensibly because of his captivity. The only reason this went forward is because of intervention by a high ranking officer who was like; “WTF is wrong with you?”.

    Are those investigators the same as the prosecution? Will they be called to testify? What I am saying is how this turns out will ultimately be up to the Court Martial Panel, but I worry that the prosecution my not be invested in actually giving a good showing.

    Bob00 in reply to Merlin. | January 23, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Obama could screw with them, but I doubt he could change the mindset. There are families that the military is the family business.

It would seem to me that since the Investigators were overruled in their assertion that charges not be filed that there is pretty overwhelming evidence for conviction.