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Bergdahl Petitions for Obama Pardon, Cites Concerns for Fair Trial Under Trump Presidency

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U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl - U.S. ARMY
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl


Citing what he said would be difficulty obtaining a fair trial after President-elect Donald Trump takes office, U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an Idaho native, has petitioned for a pardon from President Barack Obama. Bergdahl faces a court martial hearing on charges of desertion following his capture by the Taliban in 2009, and the controversial swap in 2014 of Bergdahl for several Taliban prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay.

In an interview with The New York Times, Bergdahl's lead defense attorney, Eugene Fidell said, "I have grave concerns as to whether Sergeant Bergdahl can receive a fair trial given the beating he has taken over many months from Mr. Trump." During his successful run for the White House, Trump called Bergdahl, "a no-good traitor who should have been executed."

The Times reports the pardon request was sent directly to President Obama with copies forwarded to the Secretary of the Army, the Pentagon and the U.S. Justice Department.

Bergdahl went missing in Paktika Province of Afghanistan in 2009 and spent five years as a captive before being freed in May 2014 in exchange for the release of five Taliban leaders. After an investigation into the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture, he was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. In November, a military judge ordered the pending court martial be delayed several months. It was rescheduled for spring 2017.