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Published: Sun, December 04, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial

Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial

If President Obama does not grant the pardon and Bergdahl is convicted on both charges, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

On Saturday, White House officials confirmed Bergdahl has submitted a clemency request seeking leniency.

Bergdahl walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban and its allies for five years.

At the time, Bergdahl said his plan was to leave the remote outpost and travel by foot to a larger Army base dozens of miles away, where he meant to report problems to a superior officer.

Calling the released terrorists "five Taliban prisoners" doesn't quite capture it.

Additionally, Mr. Fidell expressed concerns over statements made by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican, who promised to schedule a hearing in the event Sgt. Bergdahl avoids punishment.

He is accused of putting his fellow soldiers in danger and faces a court-martial on charges including desertion.

According to a well-placed source, Bergdahl thanked the president for rescuing him in May 2014 in a controversial exchange for five Taliban prisoners from Gitmo, in addition to asking for a pardon in the letter.

Lawmakers also expressed outrage that the government didn't give Congress the necessary 30-day notice about transferring the Islamist detainees to Qatar, as required by U.S. law.

Last month, Sgt. Bergdahl's court-martial trial was delayed for a second time and will now begin May 15 at Fort Bragg, NC.

Bergdahl's lawyers said they plan to file a request to dismiss the charges if Obama does not grant the pardon request prior to leaving office on January 20.

President-elect Donald Trump was particularly critical of the prisoner deal during the presidential campaign, describing Bergdahl as a "no-good traitor, who should have been executed".

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