Bergdahl judge says he can be fair despite Trump

FILE- In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves a motions hearing during a lunch break in Fort Bragg, N.C. The fate of Bergdahl rests in a judge’s hands now that the Army sergeant has pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades by leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009. Sentencing for Bergdahl starts Monday, Oct. 23, at Fort Bragg and is expected to feature dramatic testimony about soldiers and a Navy SEAL badly hurt while they searched for the missing Bergdahl. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP, File)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — The military judge deciding Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s punishment says comments by President Donald Trump haven’t swayed him but he’s worried about public perception of the military justice system.

Sentencing for Bergdahl on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy was set to begin Monday, but the judge instead heard arguments about a last-minute Trump-related motion. The sentencing case is scheduled to resume on Wednesday.

The defense filed a last-minute motion saying that comments Trump made after Bergdahl pleaded guilty show that he can’t get a fair sentence with the Republican as commander in chief. Trump harshly criticized Bergdahl on the campaign trail, and recently told reporters that he thinks the public is aware of what he said. Prosecutors argue the most recent comments didn’t reaffirm what he said before.

But the judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, said members of the public could have concerns about fairness in light of Trump’s comments.

___

3 a.m.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will appear before a military judge Monday to learn his punishment for endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl could get life in prison after pleading guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Prosecutors made no deal to cap his punishment, so the judge has wide leeway to decide his sentence.

The judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, is expected to weigh factors including Bergdahl’s willingness to admit guilt, his five years as an enemy captive and serious wounds to the service members who searched for him in 2009.

Prosecutors are expected to put on evidence or testimony about soldiers and a Navy SEAL who were seriously wounded by gunfire during separate search missions.

WNCT-TV 9 On Your Side provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s