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Author Topic: US military obtains new video of American soldier held in captivity  (Read 13737 times)
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« Reply #100 on: March 16, 2016, 01:14:42 PM »

Trump is as bad as Obama.

Bergdahl Lawyers: Trump Attacks Damage Chances of Fair Trial

This photo provided by Eugene R. Fidell shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl preparing to be interviewed by Army investigators in August, 2014. (AP Photo/Eugene R. Fidell)
Associated Press | Mar 11, 2016 | by Jonathan Drew

RALEIGH, N.C. — Donald Trump's ideas for punishing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl include that he "should have been executed," someone should "throw him out of a plane" without a parachute or he should be dropped in terrorist territory "before we bomb the hell out of ISIS."

Bergdahl's defense attorneys argue Trump's attacks are damaging his chances for a fair trial, saying the Republican presidential front-runner keeps repeating false information in front of large audiences.

Trump is the most vocal critic to pressure the military to punish Bergdahl, though several experts say it's unlikely his comments alone can convince the judge that the soldier's due process rights were violated.

"When they get that kind of media attention, it gets information in front of a jury," said Philip Cave, a retired Navy attorney who's not involved in the case. "There is concern that all of this information ... prejudices Bergdahl in getting a fair trial."

Bergdahl, who walked off a base in Afghanistan in 2009, faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the latter of which carries up to a life sentence. He was held five years by the Taliban and its allies before a swap involving five Guantanamo Bay detainees, prompting criticism from some in Congress that the move threatened national security.

Court documents show Bergdahl's attorneys intend to use statements from their client's critics — including U.S. Sen. John McCain — to bolster their case. They also sent a letter warning Trump they may seek his testimony, and sued for access to documents that may show improper congressional influence.

Bergdahl's lawyer Eugene Fidell said Thursday that Trump hasn't responded.

"There is a point beyond which prejudicial pretrial publicity represents a due process violation and basically subverts the legal process," Fidell said by phone.

Bergdahl attacks have been a staple of Trump speeches, and they're noted in what the defense calls a "Trump Defamation Log" included in the court record. A recent version contained 30 instances through January.

Among them are variations of this statement about returning Bergdahl to the Middle East, made at a December rally in Iowa: "Let's fly him over. We'll dump him right in the middle; throw him out of the plane. Should we give him a parachute or not? I say no."

Also problematic is Trump's repetition of debunked claims.

Trump has repeatedly said lives were lost during the search for Bergdahl — even though the Pentagon has said no soldiers died looking for him. The candidate frequently calls Bergdahl a "dirty, rotten traitor," but a general who investigated the case found no evidence Bergdahl was sympathetic to the other side.

"There are thousands and thousands of people who seem to consider him a plausible candidate for the nation's highest position," Fidell said. "So I have to assume some, if not many, if not all of his listeners take his comments seriously."

A spokeswoman for Trump didn't return messages seeking comment Thursday.

A Feb. 4 motion filed seeking public release of the general's investigation sheds light on defense strategy regarding damaging public statements.

The lawyers write that they plan to file a motion alleging McCain's statements unlawfully influenced the case, according to the document, which says potential witnesses have refused to speak to them because of negative publicity. McCain said in October that the Senate Armed Services Committee he chairs would review the case if Bergdahl isn't punished.

Such "unlawful command influence" arguments wouldn't apply to Trump because he's outside of the military chain of command, legal experts said. But that could change if he's elected president and the case — currently delayed by a disagreement over classified documents — pushes into next year.

In the meantime, the negative statements add to "the very real possibility that it will be difficult to obtain a fair court-martial for Sgt. Bergdahl," said Rachel VanLandingham, an associate law professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles and former Air Force lawyer.

The defense could argue Bergdahl's due process rights were violated because negative publicity poisoned the jury pool. But she doubts the trial judge would rule in their favor, saying: "unfair in reality and unfair in legal due process terms are often different things."

Cataloguing Trump's negative comments in the court record may give defense attorneys a tool to shape the jury, which would consist of Army members, legal experts say. Bergdahl could also choose trial by judge alone.

Defense attorneys will have a chance to question potential jurors about Trump and ask the judge to remove any who admit biases, said Eric Carpenter, an assistant professor of law at Florida International University who served as an Army prosecutor and defense attorney. However, he expects most can separate what they've heard from their work on the case.

"It's going to be next to impossible for someone in the military not to have heard this stuff," he said. "That doesn't mean they're going to act on it."

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/03/11/bergdahl-lawyers-trump-attacks-damage-chances-fair-trial.html?ESRC=army-a_160316.nl
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« Reply #101 on: May 17, 2016, 10:26:19 AM »

Bergdahl court-martial could wait until after presidential election
Emery P. Dalesio, The Associated Press
May 17, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. — The military's case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl resumes with a pretrial hearing Tuesday that could result in his court-martial being moved until after this fall's elections.

The government has proposed delaying the start of the trial to December so classified documents can be properly reviewed and prepared.

Given the shape of the presidential campaign, that could mean Bergdahl will face military justice after voters decide in November whether the incoming commander-in-chief will be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Bergdahl's defense is already saying the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is damaging their client's chances for a fair trial by calling him a "dirty, rotten traitor," who "should have been executed."

The 30-year-old soldier faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The latter charge is relatively rare and carries the potential of life in prison.

Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, was quickly captured after walking off his combat post in Afghanistan in 2009. He was held as a prisoner of war for five years by the Taliban and its allies until President Obama exchanged five Guantanamo Bay detainees for his safe return, saying the U.S. "does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind."

Obama's decision was harshly criticized. Some members of Congress said it jeopardized national security. Trump has targeted Bergdahl for scorn dozens of times on the campaign trail, saying he should have been thrown from a plane.

The defense's complaints about Trump have no bearing on the case right now, according to Rachel VanLandingham, a former Air Force lawyer who teaches at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. But if he is elected in November and keeps up his harsh comments about Bergdahl, the defense could more effectively argue that a President Trump is pressuring Army brass for a conviction, she said.

The lack of evidence that any service members were killed or wounded searching for the missing soldier led the Army's primary investigating officer to recommend against jail time, and a preliminary hearing officer recommended against a bad-conduct discharge.

But those recommendations were scrapped in December by the general overseeing the case. Gen. Robert Abrams, who leads the Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, sided with an Army lawyer's recommendation for a general court-martial.

Both sides also may address Tuesday whether that Army lawyer's advice to Abrams was so incomplete that it misled the four-star general.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials have been notified that threats against Bergdahl continue, his attorneys said in a February court filing.

"Given the many incendiary comments that have been broadcast and otherwise disseminated about Sgt. Bergdahl, his immediate commander at Fort Sam Houston has taken measures to ensure his physical safety when leaving the installation," they wrote.

A spokesman at the Texas post declined to describe these measures, citing security considerations. But as "a group of soldiers, battle buddies, we all look out for each other," Sgt. Maj. Matt Howard said.

Bergdahl can come and go the same as any other soldier from Fort Sam Houston, where he works a desk job in a headquarters unit, handling "a lot of administrative work that needs to be done. Paperwork, moving stuff from place to place, things like that," Howard said.

http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2016/05/17/bergdahl-trial-delay-november/84484578/
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« Reply #102 on: July 08, 2016, 09:24:59 AM »

Judge allows Bergdahl lawyers to get top generals' emails
Jonathan Drew, The Associated Press
July 7, 2016

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A military judge agreed Thursday to give Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl access to emails from several top commanders as defense attorneys probe for evidence of whether his prosecution on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy was unfairly swayed by high-ranking officials.

The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, ordered the government to give defense attorneys emails regarding the case that were sent and received by the head of U.S. Army Forces Command and his predecessor, along with communications by others involved in decisions about how Bergdahl's case has been handled.

Nance also "strongly suggested" that prosecutors help defense attorneys arrange an interview with Gen. Robert Abrams, the four-star leader of Forces Command who decided in December to proceed with the general court martial. Abrams declined a defense request for an interview in June.

"They need to be able to sit down with him and ask him some pointed questions," Nance said during the pretrial hearing.

The defense had sought Bergdahl-related emails from dozens of military and government officials — including former secretaries of defense — but Nance declined the request for most of the list.

One of the prosecutors, Army Maj. Justin Oshana, told the judge that defense attorneys were asking for what amounted to an "all-access pass" to top officials' emails.

Defense attorneys have said in court filings that they are gathering information on whether the case has been tainted by unlawful command influence. They have cited evidence of private discussions between high-level military and government officials and public remarks about the case by Sen. John McCain, who leads the Senate Armed Services Committee.

After Thursday's hearing, defense attorney Eugene Fidell said he was pleased with the outcome.

"A number of the documents the judge said we have a right to see could be quite important," he told reporters.

Earlier in the day, the judge also agreed to give Bergdahl's attorneys more information on why his military service was extended by a decade.

Army Lt. Col. Frank Rosenblatt, a defense attorney, said that Bergdahl was eligible for a discharge in 2011 and should have been given the option to re-enlist or leave the military upon his return from captivity in 2014. Instead the government has chosen to keep him on active duty until 2022.

"This matter was handled entirely irregularly," Rosenblatt told the judge.

Nance ordered prosecutors to request emails about the extension decision from Army human resource officials and turn over what they find to the defense. Prosecutors had argued that the request was too broad.

Bergdahl, who's from Hailey, Idaho, faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after walking off his post in Afghanistan 2009 and winding up in enemy captivity for five years. The Obama administration was criticized for swapping Guantanamo Bay detainees for Bergdahl.

The trial is scheduled to begin in February 2017.

Nance is also requiring prosecutors to add further labeling and organization to hundreds of thousands pages of documents that they're giving the defense. The defense had argued that some file names were simply numbers and asked for other help in weeding out irrelevant information.

"You're not providing them in a way that makes it efficient," Nance told prosecutors. "They could eventually plow through all this stuff ... and then we would be trying the case in 2020."

http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/crime/2016/07/07/bergdahl-attorneys-seek-illustrate-case-irregularities/86805676/
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« Reply #103 on: November 14, 2016, 02:46:31 PM »

Judge hears testimony about injuries during Bergdahl search
By: Jonathan Drew, The Associated Press,  November 14, 2016

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A military officer testified Monday that he saw another soldier shot in the head during the 2009 search for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who's accused of endangering his comrades when he walked off his post in Afghanistan.

The testimony came at a pretrial hearing at which an Army judge also agreed to delay Bergdahl's trial by several months until May 15, 2017.

Prosecutors are arguing that the judge should allow evidence of two wounded soldiers' injuries into the case to help them show that Bergdahl's disappearance effectively put other military members in harm's way.

Bergdahl is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the latter of which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

U.S. Air Force Maj. John Marx testified about a firefight on July 8, 2009, when he and several other U.S. military members were seeking information on Bergdahl's whereabouts, with members of the Afghan National Army. They were attacked after setting up a checkpoint near a town in Afghanistan.

One of the two wounded soldiers cited by prosecutors is U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. First Class Mark Allen. Prosecutors said he was shot in the head and suffered a traumatic brain injury that has left him in a wheel chair. Another soldier had hand injuries and required surgery because of a rocket-propelled grenade.

Marx, who said the mission's sole purpose was to search for Bergdahl, testified that he was sitting next to Allen as bullets flew overhead.

"I looked at him, then I see a trickle of blood coming down his head," Marx testified. Asked where Allen was wounded, Marx pointed at his temples and said: "Right through his head."

Marx testified that he later carried Allen to the medevac helicopter, describing it as "probably one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life."

Bergdahl, dressed in a white shirt and blue pants, appeared stoic as he listened to Monday's testimony.

Prosecutors have written in a motion that the injuries will help them show that Bergdahl endangered his comrades, one of the elements of the misbehavior before the enemy charge. They asked the judge to allow them to use the evidence in their case.

Defense attorneys have argued in motions that Bergdahl was not responsible for the men's injuries, writing: "Allen's injuries were directly caused by the Taliban, not by SGT Bergdahl."

Further testimony and arguments are expected Monday afternoon.

Before the testimony on the soldiers' injuries, Army Col. Jeffery Nance decided to push the trial back to May after prosecutors requested a delay. They cited the pace at which they're able to get approval to give the defense classified evidence.

Defense attorneys also informed the judge that they were still waiting on software, computers and security equipment that would allow them to review some of the sensitive material.

Nance expressed frustration and told prosecutors that he would call military officials as witnesses at a pretrial hearing in December if some of the issues with classified information aren't resolved.

"Here's my problem folks ... We will nickel and dime this until we're not trying this case until 2020," he said.

Bergdahl, who's from Hailey, Idaho, walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban and its allies for five years. The Obama administration's decision to swap prisoners for his return was heavily criticized by some Republicans.

https://www.armytimes.com/articles/judge-hears-testimony-about-injuries-during-bergdahl-search
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« Reply #104 on: December 16, 2016, 02:47:50 PM »

Bergdahl bears some responsibility for risky missions to find him, judge says
Published December 16, 2016
FoxNews.com
 
A judge on Friday suggested the military would not let Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl off easy for walking off his post in Afghanistan, saying the soldier indeed bore some responsibility for the risky missions to find him.

Still, the judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, ultimately ruled at a pretrial hearing that prosecutors could not use evidence of soldiers' serious wounds suffered while they searched for Bergdahl. One soldier was shot in the head and suffered a traumatic brain injury; the other required hand surgery.

The 30-year-old sergeant, who was swiftly captured after walking off his post in 2009 and held captive for five years by the Taliban and their allies, hasn't decided whether to have a trial by jury or judge alone at his court martial, scheduled for April 2017.

He is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy; the latter could put him in prison for life. Bergdahl has said he walked off intending to alert higher-ups to what he felt were problems with his unit.

"Sgt. Bergdahl is not responsible for a never-ending chain of events ... But he is responsible for a certain amount of that chain of events," Nance said at the hearing at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

The Obama administration's decision in May 2014 to exchange five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for Bergdahl's freedom prompted criticism from Republicans including President-elect Donald Trump, who accused Obama of jeopardizing the nation's safety.

Bergdahl, from Hailey, Idaho, asked Obama to pardon him before leaving office.

One of the prosecutors, Army Maj. Justin Oshana, said Friday evidence of the injuries showed Bergdahl endangered his comrades, and "the endangerment prong is one of the critical pieces of this trial."

But defense attorney Army Maj. Oren Gleich said many other factors that had little or nothing to do with Bergdahl coalesced into the hastily planned mission during which the two soldiers were wounded.

"You have to factor in all the intervening causes as to what created a dangerous situation," Gleich said.

Prosecutors have not mentioned any deaths of service members linked to the search for Bergdahl, Stars and Stripes reported.

Prosecutors said they wanted to use evidence related to a particular search mission involving half a dozen U.S. service members embedded with 50 members of the Afghan National Army. Another officer involved in the mission has previously testified that its sole purpose was to search for Bergdahl.

The group was attacked near a town in Afghanistan on July 8, 2009. U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Mark Allen was shot in the head during the firefight; prosecutors say he uses a wheelchair and is unable to communicate. Another soldier had hand injuries because of a rocket-propelled grenade.

Defense attorneys have presented evidence that the mission was shoddily planned, even by the standards of the missing-soldier alert Bergdahl caused. They also questioned whether the wounded soldiers fell within the specific group of military units Bergdahl is accused of endangering.

Also on Friday, Nance said he wasn't going to require testimony from government intelligence officials -- despite threatening to do so -- because progress was made on providing classified evidence to the defense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/16/bowe-bergdahl-due-in-court-for-pretrial-hearing.html
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« Reply #105 on: February 28, 2017, 01:46:26 PM »

Judge rules against dismissing charges against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
By Eugene Scott, CNN
Sun February 26, 2017

(CNN) — A military judge has ruled against dismissing charges against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl despite his lawyers' claim that President Donald Trump violated their client's due-process rights.

Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and endangering fellow soldiers after he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in June 2009 and was held in captivity by the Taliban until May 2014.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said Bergdahl "should be shot" for walking off his post. Trump also said that "in the good old days, he would have been executed."

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment Saturday on the judge's ruling.

After Trump became president, Bergdahl's lawyers argued the judge should dismiss the charges against their client because of Trump's comments, contending that it would not be possible for Bergdahl to get a fair trial.

But Army Col. Jeffery Nance wrote Friday that while Trump's comments were "troubling," they did not constitute a sufficient due process violation.

"The comments by Mr. Trump that might be considered pretrial publicity are not so pervasive and unfair as to saturate the community and prevent any trier of fact from being impartial," Nance wrote. He added: "Mr. Trump has said nothing about the accused or his case since August 2016. Under these facts, the court cannot find a due process violation sufficient to make amelioration measures futile."

Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl's chief defense lawyer, told CNN on Saturday that his legal team will take the case to the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday.

"The military judge's decision was wrong," Fidell added. "Extraordinary relief is required to protect Sgt. Bergdahl's rights to protect the integrity of the military justice system."

Since the officers who could help decide the outcome of Bergdahl's case ultimately report to the President, Fidell argued that Trump's statements constituted "unlawful command influence" -- the idea that anyone with the "mantle of command authority" could wrongly take actions that influence decisions about a defendant.

Trump "has tremendous influence over the entire system," Fidell told CNN.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/25/politics/bergdahl-trump-judge-dismiss/
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« Reply #106 on: August 21, 2017, 11:11:33 AM »

Bowe Bergdahl chooses to have trial heard by judge and not jury
Published August 21, 2017
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. –  Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has decided be to tried by a judge — not a military jury — on charges that he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl's lawyers told the court in a brief filing last week that their client chose trial by judge alone, rather than a panel of officers. He faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy at his trial scheduled for late October at Fort Bragg. The latter carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Defense attorneys declined to comment on the decision. But they previously questioned whether Bergdahl could get a fair trial by jury because of negative comments President Donald Trump made on the campaign trail.

Earlier this year the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance rejected a defense request to dismiss the case over Trump's criticism of Bergdahl.

Potential jurors had already received a questionnaire including questions about their commander in chief, but defense attorneys weren't allowed to ask jurors if they voted for Trump.

Rachel VanLandingham, a former Air Force lawyer not involved in the case, said defense attorneys likely felt limited in how they could probe juror opinions.

"They lost their ability to ask all the questions they wanted to ask, one of those being: 'Did you vote for President Trump?'" said VanLandingham, who teaches at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. "They felt that was very important ... for fleshing out whether a panel member could be fair."

Beyond concerns about jurors, she said Nance has so far demonstrated his objectivity.

"His pretrial rulings have shown that he's fair," she said.

Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban shortly after he left his remote post in 2009. The soldier from Idaho has said he intended to cause alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit.

He was freed from captivity in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners. Former President Barack Obama was criticized by Republicans who claimed the trade jeopardized the nation's security.

Bergdahl has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base pending the outcome of his case.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/21/bowe-bergdahl-chooses-to-have-trial-heard-by-judge-and-not-jury.html
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« Reply #107 on: October 06, 2017, 10:40:49 AM »

More legacy of the worst president of my lifetime (Obama).

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to plead guilty to desertion, misbehavior
By Bob Fredericks October 6, 2017

Modal Trigger Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to plead guilty to desertion, misbehavior
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrives for a pretrial hearing at Fort Bragg in 2016. AP

Disgraced Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held prisoner by the Taliban for five years, is expected to plead guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl’s decision to admit his guilt rather than face trial marks another twist in a bizarre eight-year drama that caused the nation to wrestle with difficult questions of loyalty, negotiating with hostage takers and America’s commitment not to leave its troops behind.

President Trump has called Bergdahl a “no-good traitor” who “should have been executed.”

It’s unclear whether the Idaho native, 31, will be locked up or receive a lesser sentence that reflects the time the Taliban held him under brutal conditions.

He has said he was caged, kept in the dark, beaten and chained to a bed.

Bergdahl could face up to five years on the desertion charge and a life sentence for misbehavior.

Freed three years ago, Bergdahl had been scheduled for trial in late October.

He chose to let a judge rather than a military jury decide his fate, but a guilty plea later this month will spare the need for a trial.

Sentencing will start on Oct. 23, individuals with knowledge of the case told the Associated Press.

During sentencing, US troops who were seriously wounded searching for Bergdahl in Afghanistan are expected to testify, the sources said.

It was unclear whether prosecutors and Bergdahl’s defense team had reached any agreement ahead of sentencing about how severe a penalty prosecutors will recommend.

Bergdahl’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, declined to comment on Friday. Maj. Justin Oshana, who is prosecuting the case, referred questions to the Army, which declined to discuss whether Bergdahl had agreed to plead guilty.

“We continue to maintain careful respect for the military-judicial process, the rights of the accused and ensuring the case’s fairness and impartiality during this ongoing legal case,” said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman.


Modal Trigger
Private Bowe Bergdahl speaks in a video released by his captors in Afghanistan in 2009.Reuters
Bergdahl was a 23-year-old private first class in June 2009 when, after five months in Afghanistan, he disappeared from his remote infantry post near the Pakistan border, triggering a massive search operation.

Videos soon emerged showing Bergdahl in captivity by the Taliban, and the US kept tabs on him with drones, spies and satellites as behind-the-scenes negotiations played out in fits and starts.

In May 2014, he was handed over to US special forces in a swap for five Taliban detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison, fueling an emotional debate about whether Bergdahl was a hero or a deserter.

As critics questioned whether the trade was worth it, President Obama stood with Bergdahl’s parents in the White House Rose Garden and defended the swap.

The US does not “leave our men or women in uniform behind,” Obama said, regardless of how Bergdahl came to be captured.


Modal Trigger
Jani Bergdahl and Bob Bergdahl speak at the White House with President Barack Obama in 2014.AP
Trump, as a presidential candidate, was unforgiving of Bergdahl, who has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base pending the outcome of his case.

At campaign events, Trump declared that Bergdahl “would have been shot” in another era, even pantomiming the pulling of the trigger.

“We’re tired of Sgt. Bergdahl, who’s a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed,” Trump said at a Las Vegas rally in 2015.

http://nypost.com/2017/10/06/sgt-bowe-bergdahl-to-plead-guilty-to-desertion-misbehavior/
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« Reply #108 on: October 16, 2017, 11:31:44 AM »

I wonder what President Obama and Susan Rice have to say about this?

Bergdahl Pleads Guilty in Desertion Case
Monday, 16 Oct 2017

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told a military judge on Monday that he's pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

"I understand that leaving was against the law," Bergdahl said.

"At the time, I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations," Bergdahl added, saying that now he does understand that his decision to walk off his remote post in Afghanistan in 2009 prompted efforts to find him.

Bergdahl, 31, is charged with endangering his comrades by walking away from his post. Despite his plea, the prosecution and defense have not agreed to a stipulation of facts in the case, according to one of his lawyers, Maj. Oren Gleich, which is an indication that they did not reach a deal to limit his punishment.

The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years. He appears to be hoping for leniency from the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance.

The guilty pleas bring the highly politicized saga closer to an end eight years after his disappearance in Afghanistan set off search missions by scores of his fellow service members. President Barack Obama was criticized by Republicans for the 2014 Taliban prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl home, while President Donald Trump harshly criticized Bergdahl on the campaign trail.

The serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl are still expected to play a role in his sentencing. The guilty pleas allow him to avoid a trial, but he still faces a sentencing hearing that's expected to start on Oct. 23. Bergdahl's five years of captivity by the Taliban and its allies also will likely factor into what punishment he receives.

Bergdahl, who's from Hailey, Idaho, previously chose to have his case heard by a judge alone, rather than a jury.

Legal scholars have said that several pretrial rulings against the defense have given prosecutors leverage to pursue stiff punishment against Bergdahl. Perhaps most significant was the judge's decision in June to allow evidence of serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl at the sentencing phase. The judge ruled that a Navy SEAL and an Army National Guard sergeant wouldn't have wound up in separate firefights that left them wounded if they hadn't been searching for Bergdahl.

The defense also was rebuffed in an effort to prove President Donald Trump had unfairly swayed the case with scathing criticism of Bergdahl, including suggestions of harsh punishment. The judge wrote in a February ruling that Trump's campaign-trail comments were "disturbing and disappointing" but did not constitute unlawful command influence by the soon-to-be commander in chief.

Defense attorneys have acknowledged that Bergdahl walked off his base without authorization. Bergdahl himself told a general during a preliminary investigation that he left intending to cause alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit. He was soon captured.

But the defense team has argued that Bergdahl can't be held responsible for a long chain of events that included many decisions by others on how to conduct the searches.

The military probe of Bergdahl began soon after he was freed from captivity on May 31, 2014, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners. Facing Republican criticism, Obama noted that the U.S. doesn't leave its service members behind.

Bergdahl has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base while his case unfolds.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/US-Bowe-Bergdahl-desertion-case-plead-guilty/2017/10/16/id/819874/
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« Reply #109 on: October 24, 2017, 11:03:23 AM »

President Trump just cannot keep his mouth shut. 

Bowe Bergdahl’s Sentencing Delayed Over Trump’s Comments
by MORGAN RADFORD and CORKY SIEMASZKO
OCT 23 2017

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The long-awaited sentencing of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was delayed Monday after a legal battle erupted over the word "but" in President Donald Trump's most recent remarks about the case.

Bergdahl's defense team argued that their client could not get a fair shake from the court because Trump, during a Rose Garden appearance on Oct. 16, at first said he couldn't talk about the case and then added: "But I think people have heard my comments in the past."

Trump has described Bergdahl as a “dirty rotten traitor” and called for the 31-year-old Idaho native to be executed by firing squad or thrown from a plane minus a parachute.

The defense showed footage of Trump talking last week and video from December 2015 when then-candidate Trump lambasted Bergdahl and the deal that got him sprung from the Taliban.

Prosecutors argued that Trump in the Rose Garden was trying to distance himself from his campaign trail comments and that the "but" didn't undermine that attempt.

Col. Jeffrey R. Nance, the military judge who holds Bergdahl's fate in his hands, said he had a "hard time" buying the prosecutors' argument. Nance said Trump's most recent comments were the equivalent of the president saying, "I shouldn't comment on that, but I think everyone knows what I think on Bowe Bergdahl."

And what Trump thinks is key because, as commander in chief, he is Nance's boss as well as the prosecutors'.

Related: Bowe Bergdahl Says Returning to U.S. Was as Tough as Captivity

Nance said there is a vital public interest in "maintaining confidence in the military justice system" and the public "is going to be influenced by context."

Before concluding the 59-minute proceeding and recessing the court until Wednesday, Nance also offered Bergdahl the chance to withdraw his guilty plea. He refused.

His lawyers have argued that the only way to ensure a fair sentence is take any possible jail time off the table.

Nance, who has wide latitude over sentencing, could jail Bergdahl for life.

The issue of Trump’s campaign trail comments came up last week when Bergdahl entered his guilty plea without striking a deal with prosecutors, leaving his sentence up to Nance.

Bergdahl’s lawyers argued Trump’s remarks while running for office made a fair trial impossible because as commander in chief, everybody involved in the trial answers to him.

Nance said Trump’s comments were “disturbing and disappointing” but did not constitute unlawful command influence because they were uttered before he was elected.

Related: Trump Criticism of Bergdahl Is 'Disturbing,' Judge Says

Bergdahl fell into Taliban hands after he vanished on June 30, 2009, from a post in the remote Paktika Province. He had set off with the intention of reaching other U.S. Army commanders and blowing the whistle on what he considered misconduct in his unit.

Prosecutors, however, said Bergdahl deserted and his decision to walk sparked intense search-and-rescue missions during which some service members were seriously injured.

“At the time, I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations,” Bergdahl said. “I believed they would notice me missing, but I didn’t believe they would have reason to search for one private.”

For the next five years, Bergdahl was tortured and abused and forced to spend long stretches of time in solitary confinement, including three years in a metal cage. He was released in 2014 in a prisoner swap for which President Barack Obama was roundly criticized by Trump and the Republicans.

Bergdahl’s lawyers have repeatedly urged Trump, who received five deferments during the Vietnam War and has never served in the military, to butt out of the case.

In an interview on Sunday with The Sunday Times, Bergdahl shrugged off Trump’s taunts.

“He’s a politician,” Bergdahl told The Sunday Times, “but I know I can’t convince the people who say, ‘Just string him up and shoot him.’ So you just move on.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/bowe-bergdahl-s-sentencing-delayed-over-trump-s-comments-n813251
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« Reply #110 on: October 25, 2017, 08:17:33 AM »

President Trump just cannot keep his mouth shut. 

Bowe Bergdahl’s Sentencing Delayed Over Trump’s Comments
by MORGAN RADFORD and CORKY SIEMASZKO
OCT 23 2017

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The long-awaited sentencing of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was delayed Monday after a legal battle erupted over the word "but" in President Donald Trump's most recent remarks about the case.

Bergdahl's defense team argued that their client could not get a fair shake from the court because Trump, during a Rose Garden appearance on Oct. 16, at first said he couldn't talk about the case and then added: "But I think people have heard my comments in the past."

Trump has described Bergdahl as a “dirty rotten traitor” and called for the 31-year-old Idaho native to be executed by firing squad or thrown from a plane minus a parachute.

The defense showed footage of Trump talking last week and video from December 2015 when then-candidate Trump lambasted Bergdahl and the deal that got him sprung from the Taliban.

Prosecutors argued that Trump in the Rose Garden was trying to distance himself from his campaign trail comments and that the "but" didn't undermine that attempt.

Col. Jeffrey R. Nance, the military judge who holds Bergdahl's fate in his hands, said he had a "hard time" buying the prosecutors' argument. Nance said Trump's most recent comments were the equivalent of the president saying, "I shouldn't comment on that, but I think everyone knows what I think on Bowe Bergdahl."

And what Trump thinks is key because, as commander in chief, he is Nance's boss as well as the prosecutors'.

Related: Bowe Bergdahl Says Returning to U.S. Was as Tough as Captivity

Nance said there is a vital public interest in "maintaining confidence in the military justice system" and the public "is going to be influenced by context."

Before concluding the 59-minute proceeding and recessing the court until Wednesday, Nance also offered Bergdahl the chance to withdraw his guilty plea. He refused.

His lawyers have argued that the only way to ensure a fair sentence is take any possible jail time off the table.

Nance, who has wide latitude over sentencing, could jail Bergdahl for life.

The issue of Trump’s campaign trail comments came up last week when Bergdahl entered his guilty plea without striking a deal with prosecutors, leaving his sentence up to Nance.

Bergdahl’s lawyers argued Trump’s remarks while running for office made a fair trial impossible because as commander in chief, everybody involved in the trial answers to him.

Nance said Trump’s comments were “disturbing and disappointing” but did not constitute unlawful command influence because they were uttered before he was elected.

Related: Trump Criticism of Bergdahl Is 'Disturbing,' Judge Says

Bergdahl fell into Taliban hands after he vanished on June 30, 2009, from a post in the remote Paktika Province. He had set off with the intention of reaching other U.S. Army commanders and blowing the whistle on what he considered misconduct in his unit.

Prosecutors, however, said Bergdahl deserted and his decision to walk sparked intense search-and-rescue missions during which some service members were seriously injured.

“At the time, I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations,” Bergdahl said. “I believed they would notice me missing, but I didn’t believe they would have reason to search for one private.”

For the next five years, Bergdahl was tortured and abused and forced to spend long stretches of time in solitary confinement, including three years in a metal cage. He was released in 2014 in a prisoner swap for which President Barack Obama was roundly criticized by Trump and the Republicans.

Bergdahl’s lawyers have repeatedly urged Trump, who received five deferments during the Vietnam War and has never served in the military, to butt out of the case.

In an interview on Sunday with The Sunday Times, Bergdahl shrugged off Trump’s taunts.

“He’s a politician,” Bergdahl told The Sunday Times, “but I know I can’t convince the people who say, ‘Just string him up and shoot him.’ So you just move on.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/bowe-bergdahl-s-sentencing-delayed-over-trump-s-comments-n813251


Nope, and this may lead to no jail time and just a discharge from the Army
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« Reply #111 on: November 01, 2017, 02:59:01 PM »

The apology and accepting responsibility are great.  Now he just needs a long prison sentence.

Bowe Bergdahl offers tearful apology to soldiers who searched for him
By Emanuella Grinberg and Kellie Keesee, CNN
Mon October 30, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/30/us/bergdahl-court-martial-witness-testifies/index.html
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« Reply #112 on: November 03, 2017, 09:32:41 AM »


Nope, and this may lead to no jail time and just a discharge from the Army

Good call.

Bergdahl dishonorably discharged, no jail time after emotional trial
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/03/bergdahl-awaits-sentence-after-days-emotional-testimony.html
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« Reply #113 on: November 03, 2017, 10:23:16 AM »

Good call.

Bergdahl dishonorably discharged, no jail time after emotional trial
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/03/bergdahl-awaits-sentence-after-days-emotional-testimony.html
What a political game/joke. This is awful. So Obama can try and make him a hero and that is fine but Trump saying anything is not ok. Hmmm... Facts are facts.
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« Reply #114 on: November 03, 2017, 04:52:13 PM »

Trump, remarking anyone is a traitor given his efforts to avoid service should be taken with a grain of salt. That he doesn't understand the difference between traitor and deserter isn't surprising. I understand the soldier spent years in captivity and that was taken into account, but I think due to the fact people were hurt/maimed attempting to find him, and the message it sends other servicemen who are considering deserting, a couple years at least should have been given in my view 
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« Reply #115 on: November 04, 2017, 11:38:02 AM »

Good call.

Bergdahl dishonorably discharged, no jail time after emotional trial
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/03/bergdahl-awaits-sentence-after-days-emotional-testimony.html


Yea.  Honestly this is actually the best outcome.  If Bergdahl had served any prison time, the Army would have been on the hook for millions of dollars for medical treatment from being tortured.....now they don't have to pay shit as he has a dishonorable discharge.  However, the dishonorable discharge may actually be thrown out because his enlistment time was moved up without his consent.


Trump needs to keep his fucking mouth shut but he won't and now that New York terrorist's attorney is filing a motion for his comments.......UGH!!!!! Roll Eyes
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« Reply #116 on: November 04, 2017, 12:38:32 PM »


Yea.  Honestly this is actually the best outcome.  If Bergdahl had served any prison time, the Army would have been on the hook for millions of dollars for medical treatment from being tortured.....now they don't have to pay shit as he has a dishonorable discharge.  However, the dishonorable discharge may actually be thrown out because his enlistment time was moved up without his consent.


Trump needs to keep his fucking mouth shut but he won't and now that New York terrorist's attorney is filing a motion for his comments.......UGH!!!!! Roll Eyes

A couple million dollars... if that is the case, is a drop in the bucket of their budget. There is no reason to believe tax payers won't end up footing the bill on a now unemployed ex soldier. Sending a message that deserting will not be dealt with lightly weighs more in my opinion
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« Reply #117 on: November 08, 2017, 01:05:04 PM »

What a political game/joke. This is awful. So Obama can try and make him a hero and that is fine but Trump saying anything is not ok. Hmmm... Facts are facts.

It was wrong when Obama did it.  It was wrong when Trump did it.  No president should say anything that could influence the outcome of an ongoing criminal matter. 
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« Reply #118 on: November 08, 2017, 01:06:02 PM »

Trump, remarking anyone is a traitor given his efforts to avoid service should be taken with a grain of salt. That he doesn't understand the difference between traitor and deserter isn't surprising. I understand the soldier spent years in captivity and that was taken into account, but I think due to the fact people were hurt/maimed attempting to find him, and the message it sends other servicemen who are considering deserting, a couple years at least should have been given in my view 

Meh.  Draft dodging or not, Bergdhal is a traitor, so Trump is right.  Still, he should have kept his mouth shut.
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« Reply #119 on: November 08, 2017, 01:15:29 PM »


Yea.  Honestly this is actually the best outcome.  If Bergdahl had served any prison time, the Army would have been on the hook for millions of dollars for medical treatment from being tortured.....now they don't have to pay shit as he has a dishonorable discharge.  However, the dishonorable discharge may actually be thrown out because his enlistment time was moved up without his consent.


Trump needs to keep his fucking mouth shut but he won't and now that New York terrorist's attorney is filing a motion for his comments.......UGH!!!!! Roll Eyes

He would have been given medical treatment, if needed, during his prison sentence, just like any other prisoner. 

No his discharge will not be thrown out because of his ETS.  The Army doesn't need the Soldier's consent to keep them on active duty past his/her ETS.  This happens during times of war when there is a need (which includes recalling retired Soldiers), and when a Soldier is kept on active duty so they can face disciplinary proceedings. 

Yes Trump needs to keep his mouth shut.  I doubt that will ever happen.
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« Reply #120 on: November 09, 2017, 11:23:57 AM »

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2017/11/08/army-to-determine-if-bergdahl-is-owed-back-pay-for-his-time-in-captivity


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« Reply #121 on: November 09, 2017, 11:33:06 AM »


It should be zero. 

And that the heck is this??   Angry

Reached for comment, Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, said the defense team’s focus has turned to preparing the case for an appeal. He declined to elaborate.

“We are currently identifying the issues we will be pursuing,” Fidell said.
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