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Judge worries about Trump impact in Bergdahl case

25 October 2017

United States army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who last week pleaded guilty on Monday to deserting his post in Afghanistan in 2009, has said his captors were more "honest" with him than the army has been since his release three years ago, Fox News reported.

The military judge presiding over Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's case has delayed the sentencing hearing to Wednesday after considering new comments from President Donald Trump that may threaten public confidence in military courts. And he's also - they're setting up sentencing, so I'm not going to comment on him.

Fidell played a video of Trump's October 16 press conference in the White House's Rose Garden, where a reporter asked whether the president thought his prior comments had hurt Bergdahl's ability to receive a fair trial. Instead, the words "recognize that [the comments] were made and that people had heard them", he said.

Bergdahl has already pleaded guilty to both desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

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In an exclusive interview obtained by ABC past year, Bergdahl said he didn't think he would be able to get a fair trial after Trump's comments that he should be shot.

Nance said his interpretation was that Trump was essentially saying: "I shouldn't comment on that, but I think everyone knows what I think on Bowe Bergdahl". He faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

Bergdahl elected to be tried by a judge, not a panel of military officers, in August.

A Taliban prisoner swap that won his release in 2014, organized by the administration of then-Democratic President Barack Obama, was criticized by people in the military and by Republicans.

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The judge said when he denied the motion to dismiss in February he believed the public would see Trump's earlier statements as campaign rhetoric.

"I don't have any doubt whatsoever I can be fair and impartial", he said.

Bergdahl told investigators he snuck away from his outpost in 2009 with plans to run about 20 miles to Forward Operating Base Sharana in order to bring attention to what he saw as serious issues and leadership mistakes within his unit.

The judge will hear testimonies from soldiers who were injured as they searched for Bergdahl after he went missing.

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Bergdahl says he never quite knew where he stood with the army as he performed "administrative duties" while awaiting his desertion trial.

Judge worries about Trump impact in Bergdahl case