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Bowe Bergdahl Names Trump, McCain in Lawsuit

He accuses them of 'scandalous meddling' in his court-martial
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2021 8:36 AM CST

(Newser) – Bowe Bergdahl is suing the United States over his 2017 court-martial conviction, which he blames on "scandalous meddling" from late Sen. John McCain and former President Trump. In the civil lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, the former soldier, who was held hostage by the Taliban for five years after he walked off his military base in Afghanistan, accuses McCain and Trump of exerting "unlawful command influence" over his case, Fox reports. The lawsuit states that Trump referred to Bergdahl as a "dirty, rotten traitor" during his campaign and continued to disparage him while his case was underway, while McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee during the military trial, said he would call for a committee hearing if Bergdahl wasn't punished.

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The meddling "would never be tolerated if the proceeding had been a criminal prosecution in this or any other federal district court and should not be tolerated in a court-martial," the lawsuit states. Bergdahl received a dishonorable discharge but no prison time after pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. His lawsuit asks the court to declare his conviction unconstitutional and grant "such other and further relief as may in the circumstances be just and proper." The judge who oversaw his case in 2017 rejected the argument that Trump's remarks made the trial unfair, though he said it could be a mitigating factor in sentencing. Bergdahl's argument about Trump and McCain's remarks was also rejected by the military's top appeals court last year. (Read more Bowe Bergdahl stories.)

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