Fascinating twist in the Bowe Bergdahl case. Bergdahl’s lawyers, not surprisingly, have raised the issue of now-President Trump repeatedly calling Bergdahl a “traitor” on the campaign trail. The military judge in the case allowed himself to be questioned by lawyers about his impartiality and insisted he could be impartial. But he had more questions about the perceptions of military justice created by Trump’s comments.
From the AP …
The judge deciding Bergdahl’s punishment for walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 heard defense arguments Monday that Trump recently reaffirmed his scathing criticism and is preventing a fair sentencing hearing. Bergdahl faces a maximum sentence of life in prison after pleading guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
The judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, allowed the attorneys to question him about whether he was swayed by Trump’s comments, and responded that he would be fair.
“I don’t have any doubt whatsoever that I can be fair and impartial in the sentencing in this matter,” Nance said.
But he had stern words for prosecutors about what effect Trump’s comments would have on public perception of the case. He indicated he would issue a ruling later on the defense request to dismiss the case because of Trump.
Here’s the whole story.