President Donald Trump hasn’t minced words when it comes to Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier facing desertion and misbehavior charges. Prior to taking office, he called him a “dirty, rotten traitor” and said Bergdahl should be executed. Now that Trump is President, Bergdahl’s attorneys claim that their client can no longer get a fair trial, according to a motion to dismiss. The motion included a 28-minute video montage (see above) of Trump repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor. “If I get in, we will review his case, I promise you,” Trump can be seen saying at the end of the video, in a clip from December 2015.
Berghdal was released from a Taliban prison in 2014 as part of a prisoner exchange for five Talibans members who were being held at Guantanamo Bay. He had been taken captive and held prisoner for five years after disappearing into the desert. In March 2015, he was charged with desertion and endangering the safety of a command under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The motion claims that because the sitting President has made “false and highly prejudicial statements about the soldier’s case,” dismissal of the case is required “in order to safeguard the credibility of the military justice system.” In addition to referencing Trump often calling Bergdahl a traitor, the motion cites multiple occasions where Trump publicly stated that at least six soldiers died while searching for Bergdahl, which Bergdahl’s lawyers say is not true.
The soldier’s attorneys had previously said that they may call Trump as a witness, but now that he is President, they say that the only appropriate action is outright dismissal of the case. Because the Commander in Chief has so publicly and forcefully insisted that Bergdahl is guilty, the soldiers attorneys argue that it wold be impossible for him to get a fair chance at trial.
Rachel Stockman contributed to this report.