New Bergdahl Defense plan: Attack President
Military deserter Bowe Bergdahl was hoping for a pardon from President Obama which never came. Now that President Trump has taken office, Bergdahl’s lawyers are claiming he can’t be guaranteed a fair trial due to Trump’s prior criticism of him.
Bergdahl lawyers press for dismissal after Trump inauguration
Lawyers for former prisoner of war and Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl made good on their promise to call for his case to be dismissed based on President Trump’s campaign comments against him, filing a motion on Inauguration Day.
Trump’s comments compromise their client’s right to a fair trial, the lawyers argue, releasing a 28-minute video of times the new president has disparaged Bergdahl.
“President Trump has made it impossible for SGT Bergdahl to obtain a fair trial,” his lawyers wrote in the 57-page filing, complete with a screenshot of a Trump tweet about Bergdahl and photos of Trump pantomiming executions at this rallies. “President Trump transformed his rallies into a televised traveling lynch mob. Justice cannot be done and public confidence in military justice cannot be maintained under these circumstances.”Bergdahl is set to face a court-martial in April on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after walking away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
This seems a bit absurd to me, and I hope it doesn't work. Think of what happens if it does in terms of what we would have in ensuing criminal trials like this, you'd have Presidential, orr perhaps other political aspirants who would be afraid to comment on the very issues that are important, because then it would prejudice the case. So maybe you'd get a trial that was more "just" or something, but it would rob every other citizen of being an informed electorate because the candidates themselves couldn't tell you their opinion on things.
There is such a thing as undue command influence, but remember, when President Trump made these statements, he was simply a private citizen, albeit one running for President. I'm pretty sure that a military jury, or a judge if he goes for a bench trial, can look at the facts and make a judgement on that, not something said during a political campaign.
The alternative, that candidates have to remain silent, is just unworkable in a representative Democracy.