Bergdahl Won't Be Let Off Hook Over Trump's Comments

Judge rules court hasn't been directly affected by Trump's criticism of Bergdahl
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 30, 2017 10:47 AM CDT
Bergdahl Won't Be Let Off Hook Over Trump's Comments
United States Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrives at the Fort Bragg courtroom facility for a sentencing hearing on Monday.   (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

A military judge has rejected arguments by attorneys for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl that criticism by President Trump is preventing him from having a fair sentencing hearing. The AP reports the judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, said Monday the court has not been directly affected by Trump's criticism of Bergdahl. He also ruled that a reasonable member of the public would not have doubts about the fairness of military justice because of Trump's comments. He rejected a defense request to rule that it would be unfair to give Bergdahl any prison time. The judge did say, however, that he would consider Trump's comments as a mitigating factor in the sentencing. Other mitigating and aggravating factors that he could consider include Bergdahl's mental health and serious wounds to service members who searched for him.

The wife of one of those soldiers is expected to take the stand Monday as Bergdahl's sentencing hearing resumes. National Guard Master Sgt. Mark Allen was shot in the temple while looking for Bergdahl, who faces up to life in prison. The AP previously reported that in mid-October Trump was asked about comments he made about Bergdahl while he was a candidate; while on the campaign trail, Trump called Bergdahl a "dirty, rotten traitor" who deserved to be executed by firing squad or thrown out of a plane without a parachute. Trump replied that he couldn't say anything more about the case, "but I think people have heard my comments in the past." The defense argued that showed he harbors the same views as commander in chief.

(More Bowe Bergdahl stories.)

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