Bergdahl Seeks Pardon Before Trump Presidency

He thanks Obama, asks for clemency
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2016 9:25 AM CST
Bergdahl Asks Obama for Pre-Emptive Pardon
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is seen leaving a courtroom after a pretrial hearing in Fort Bragg, NC, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.   (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)

Bowe Bergdahl doesn't want his case to go to trial under a president who has called him a "no-good traitor who should have been executed." After Donald Trump won the election, the Army sergeant's lawyers asked President Obama for a pre-emptive pardon before Bergdahl's trial on desertion charges, which is due to start in April next year, the New York Times reports. Sources tell Fox that in a letter to Obama, Bergdahl, who was held captive by militants for five years after walking off his base in Afghanistan in 2009, asked for clemency and thanked the president for securing his release in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.

On the campaign trail, Trump slammed the release deal and repeatedly called Bergdahl a "dirty, rotten traitor," though the Times notes that Trump's claims that five Americans died searching for Bergdahl and that the freed Taliban leaders ended up back on the battlefield proved to be unfounded. Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, says that if there is no pardon, he will file a motion on Inauguration Day to have the case dismissed. Fidell, who complained about Trump's campaign conduct, says he has "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 from John McCain, who says he will hold hearings if Bergdahl is not punished. (Bergdahl says he wanted to walk to another base to speak to a top commander.)

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