Military’s top court will look at Bergdahl conviction, consider Trump's and McCain's influence

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves the Fort Bragg courtroom facility after a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. ANDREW CRAFT/THE FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves the Fort Bragg courtroom facility after a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. ANDREW CRAFT/THE FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER

Military’s top court will look at Bergdahl conviction, consider Trump's and McCain's influence

by Corey Dickstein
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military’s top appellate court will consider whether former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl received a fair trial in 2017 when he was convicted of abandoning his Afghanistan post and endangering troops after he was repeatedly ridiculed as a traitor by President Donald Trump.

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces on Monday granted a Bergdahl petition to review the case of the ex-soldier who spent five years in Taliban captivity after walking off his Paktika province post in 2009. The five-judge panel announced it would examine Bergdahl’s contention that his case was tainted before his court-martial by apparent unlawful command influence from scores of comments levied at him by Trump as a presidential candidate and statements by the late Sen. John McCain that called for Bergdahl to be punished.

The court’s decision to review the case comes about two years after Bergdahl pleaded guilty in late October 2017 to the charges and he was sentenced to a reduction in rank to E-1 private, the forfeiture of about $10,000 in pay and a dishonorable discharge after a weeklong trial. The decision by the judge, now-retired Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, to spare Bergdahl prison time was largely interpreted as a mitigant to Trump’s campaign trail rhetoric, though Nance never explained his sentencing decision publicly.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.606314

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