Out on the campaign trail, Donald Trump singled out Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
numerous times as a "traitor" who deserved severe punishment
for his alleged cooperation with Taliban forces during his five-year captivity.
While those charges haven't been proven, Bergdahl's case has been
a hot-button topic for much of the public who believe his 2009 disappearance
was actually a defection from the U.S. Army.
Now, as the
Fayetteville Observer reports, Bergdahl's attorneys are aggressively pushing for a dismissal
of all charges against their client now that Donald Trump is President-Elect.
According to the paper, Trump's highly publicized comments—followed
by his subsequent election—pose an unprecedented violation of Bergdahl's
right to an unbiased jury trial.
"We're deadly serious about seeking a dismissal," Attorney
Eugene R. Fidell told the paper this month. "There's never been
a presidential candidate who singled out a military member for this kind
of abuse before. It's never happened."
This is not the first time Bergdahl's team has addressed Trump's
comments. Earlier this year, Attorney Franklin D. Rosenblatt wrote a letter
to Trump requesting an interview him about his comments concerning Bergdahl.
"I request to interview you as soon as possible about your comments
about Sergeant Bergdahl during frequent appearances in front of large
audiences in advance of his court-martial," the letter read, "based
on your personal knowledge of matters that are relevant to Sergeant Bergdahl's
right to a fair trial."
"We've Been Keeping Careful Notes"
Throughout Trump's raucous presidential campaign, it had been difficult
for both the media and the public differentiate his language from mere
publicity to actual policy. He, however, has not minced words over what
he thought of Bergdahl's case. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, he told a crowd
of supporters that Bergdahl should be dropped into ISIS territory before
the U.S. bombed “the hell out of it." There is no known connection
between Bergdahl's case and ISIS.
According to Bergdahl's defense team, Trump's comments have been
closely monitored. "We've been keeping careful notes on him,"
Attorney Fidell said. "We have a Trump defamation log that goes on
for page after page after page. Everybody knows that he's been going
back and forth across the country addressing rallies attended by tens
of thousands of people and viewed by tens of thousands of other Americans,
thanks to the internet. Mr. Trump has created a substantial problem, which
I anticipate will be the subject of motion practice, probably after Inauguration
Experts agree that Trump's comments are a critical issue, especially
after the election. "If there's a perception that the president
has already made a decision of a person's guilt or innocence... in
a court-martial, then that case should be thrown out because it's
fatally flawed," Professor Rachel VanLandingham of Southwestern Law School.
Further Court-Martial Delays
Army Col. Jeffery Nance also accepted a motion filed by Bergdahl's
prosecutors this week to further delay the court-martial to May 2017.
Prosecutors argued last month that the process of clearing certain classified
documents for the defense's review in the discovery stage would not
allow them to be prepared for the February court-martial date.
At that same hearing, testimony from two Soliders was heard in regards
to one of my most critical issues in Bergdahl's case: whether or not
his fellow Soliders were harmed while searching for him. Air Force Maj.
John Marx testified that, during a search, Army National Guard Sgt. First
Class Mark Allen was shot in the head by Taliban operatives, leaving him
disabled. Former Army Spc. Jonathan Morita also testified that a Taliban
grenade injured his hand as he searched for Bergdahl. Bergdahl's lawyers
have maintained accountability for these combat injuries lies with the Taliban.
Bergdahl walked from his post in Afghanistan in 2009, was promptly captured
by the Taliban, and held for five years. He was freed via a controversial
prisoner swap in 2014 and later charged with desertion and misbehavior
before the enemy. According to Bergdahl, he left his post to seek intervention
from a neighboring base for the questionable leadership at his own outpost.
Bergdahl has since been diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder.
Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law
is a 10-year U.S. Army veteran who now travels the globe to protect accused
members of our armed forces. If you are a military servicemember who has
been accused of a crime or is subject to an adverse administrative action,
then your choice in counsel is critical to securing a favorable outcome.
Get counsel on your side capable of providing results. Contact us today
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