President Trump made a plethora of controversial comments while on the campaign trail. The list never ends. One of the comments he made specifically targeted and criticized Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who famously is on trial for abandoning his Afghanistan post in 2009. He is now receiving a fair trial for endangering his comrades at a military trial.
But now Bergdahl’s attorneys are arguing that the President violated Bergdahl’s due process rights afforded to him by the constitution. They were referring to the President calling him a traitor. They are attempting to use it as a way to dismiss the charges he faces for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy,
The trial is meant to take place in April and if convicted he could face prison for his entire life. Judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance wrote the following in response to their attorneys statements,
“The accused was merely the foil for delivering that political message. All reasonable members of the public and potential panel members will know that was what he was doing and will not allow the rhetoric to affect their impartiality.
We have a man who eventually became President of the United States and Commander in Chief of all the armed forces making conclusive and disparaging comments, while campaigning for election, about a soldier facing potential court-martial…. The Court recognizes the problematic potential created by these facts.”
The Judge did not in his comments that the President’s statement was both disturbing and disappointing. However, he refused to say it constituted unlawful command of influence. He concluded that his statement was nothing more than campaign rhetoric, ruling they would not negatively effect juror impartiality.
Michael Short, a White House spokesperson, has declined to comment. Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s lead defense attorney, has indicated they will seek an appeal on this ruling. But the Judge gave wide leeway to the defense in asking potential jurors about the President. He gave them the right to renew their objection after questioning jurors.