Military Judge Army Col. Jeffrey Nance says he believes jury selection for Bowe Bergdahl’s trial will begin on October 16, and the trial will begin on October 23, according to a report from the Associated Press. Bergdahl is facing charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after abandoning his post in 2009 and subsequently held captive by Taliban-aligned soldiers. Comrades of Bergdahl were killed during the search for him.
In February, Nance ruled against dropping charges against Bergdahl after Bergdahl’s lawyers argued that comments made by President Donald Trump prior to the 2016 presidential election violated their client’s due process rights. Bergdahl was highly criticized by Donald Trump while he was running for office. Though Bergdahl’s lawyers have stated that they did not believe their client would get a fair trial under the Trump administration, judge Army Col. Jeffery Nance said that Trump’s comments did not qualify as a due process violation.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump made comments such as he thought Bergdahl was “a dirty rotten traitor” for leaving his post and endangering the lives of others. Five soldiers died while looking for Bergdahl.
After Bergdahl left his post, he was held as a Taliban prisoner until 2014 when the Obama administration was able to get him back to the United States through a prisoner swap. Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees, a move which Trump called a “very bad deal” on numerous occasions. President Trump also added that “in the good old days, he would have been executed.”