Bergdahl's Lawyers Seek Dismissal Of Case Over Sen. McCain's Comments

Aug 22, 2016


Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrives for a pretrial hearing at Fort Bragg, N.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Bergdahl, who was held by the Taliban for five years after he walked off a base in Afghanistan, faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
Credit Ted Ricardson / AP Photo

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is back in court Monday as his lawyers work to get his case dismissed. The Hailey native has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy during his deployment to Afghanistan. 

Bergdahl’s lawyers say his case was improperly influenced by Arizona Sen. John McCain last year when he said that if the military doesn’t punish the Army sergeant, he would hold a Senate hearing on the case.

McCain is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a Vietnam POW. Bergdahl’s attorneys say the comments make it impossible for their client to get a fair trial.

The Army judge has also been asked to dismiss the case based on the involvement of General Robert Abrams. He was the Army official who referred the case to court martial. Bergdahl's attorneys say Abrams' role as a commander in Afghanistan while Bergdahl was there should have precluded him from being involved in the case. They also fear McCain's comments may have influenced Abram's decision. 

If the judge agrees on either of the points, it could further delay Bergdahl’s trial, which has already been moved from August to next February. The sergeant is still on active duty in Texas.

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio