Bergdahl Asks Obama for Pardon

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, facing trial on charges of desertion and misbehavior, has asked President Barack Obama for a pardon. The former American prisoner of war in Afghanistan and his legal team launched a last-ditch effort after the presidential election, submitting copies of a clemency application to the White House, the Justice Department and the Pentagon, The New York Times reported. Bergdahl’s legal team asked for a pre-emptive pardon to avoid trial scheduled for April 18, as they try to beat the clock before President-elect Donald Trump takes over the White House. Trump frequently lashed out at Bergdahl at his rallies, once even pantomiming shooting him while calling him a “dirty, rotten traitor.” Trump made it clear that he believed Bergdahl “should have been executed,” a fact which Bergdahl's lawyers say compromises any future legal proceedings. Eugene R. Fidell, Bergdahl’s lead defense lawyer, said he’d seek to have the trial dismissed if it’s still pending once Trump is in charge. Bergdahl faces the charges for leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009, a move which resulted in him being snatched by militants and held in captivity for five years. An Army investigation last year recommended against jail time for Bergdahl, but a commander later ordered that he be prosecuted in a general court-martial. A conviction could see him hit with a life sentence.