In a last-ditch effort, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who’s been accused of deserting his unit in Afghanistan, asked President Barack Obama to pardon him before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House.
Following the outcome of the presidential election, Bergdahl’s lawyers submitted a clemency application to the Obama administration, The New York Times reports.
Officials from the White House and Pentagon confirmed receipt of the application Saturday.
Trump has referred to Bergdahl as a “no-good traitor who should have been executed.”
For Trump, it’s patently obvious that Bergdahl would’ve been executed 30 years ago for abandoning his post in 2009 and getting himself captured by the Taliban, only to be later swapped in a secret exchange for five Taliban prisoners formerly held at Guantanamo Bay. His very capture prompted an incredibly dangerous search.
Trump’s numerous comments about Bergdahl during the election cycle led to vigorous objection from Eugene R. Fidell, the lead lawyer for Bergdahl, who has complained that Trump, as well as GOP Sen. John McCain, may have already poisoned any chance the accused deserter has of a fair trial at Fort Bragg.
“I have grave concerns as to whether Sergeant Bergdahl can receive a fair trial given the beating he has taken over many months from Mr. Trump, who will be commander in chief, as well as Senator McCain’s call for a hearing in case Sergeant Bergdahl is not punished,” Fidell said, according to The New York Times. “It is really most unfair.”
If Obama grants him a pardon, Bergdahl could avoid charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Otherwise, his trial is scheduled to start April 18, which could result in a sentence of life in prison.
But if Obama neglects to offer a pardon, Bergdahl’s legal team has another trick up its sleeve and will file a motion in the case arguing Trump’s comments during the election violated Bergdahl’s due process rights.
The defense team has been cataloging every single instance where Trump has commented on the Bergdahl case. This file is known as the “Trump Defamation Log” and includes 40 examples, ending in August.