A three-judge Army Court of Criminal Appeals panel rejected the argument, 2-1, that President Trump’s tweets and public statements interfered with a fair trial for former Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban and held for five years, Army Times reported.
“Although there was some evidence of unlawful command influence adduced at trial and in the post-trial process, the government met its burden to demonstrate that an objective disinterested observer would not harbor a significant doubt as to the fairness of the proceedings,” the Army appeals court opinion reads.
Bergdahl’s attorneys had argued that Trump describing their client as “a no-good traitor who should have been executed” negatively influenced his case.
Bergdahl was spared prison time over the abandonment of his post in Afghanistan — and unwitting trek into the clutches of the Taliban – and the subsequent endangerment of military comrades who participated in the lengthy search for him.
The soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was brought home by President Barack Obama in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Obama said at the time that the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield.
Army Gen. Robert Abrams, head of U.S. Army Forces Command, approved the court-martial sentencing handed down in November 2017. Bergdahl was reduced in rank from sergeant to private and ordered to forfeit $1,000 a month in pay for 10 months. The judge also gave him a dishonorable discharge.
The news outlet reported that Bergdahl’s legal team is planning to appeal to civilian court with jurisdiction over the U.S. Armed Forces in Washington, D.C.