December 6, 2016
Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., asked President Obama on Tuesday to force Bowe Bergdahl to face his court-martial planned for April by not pardoning him before leaving office.
Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was taken captive by the Taliban. His disappearance launched a massive manhunt and some reports have suggested that six American troops died as a result of the search, though the Army has denied that there is any evidence to support those claims.
“It has been seven years since Sgt. Bergdahl chose to abandon his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan during a time of war,” Buchanan said in a statement. “He should be court-martialed and held accountable.”
Bergdahl was rescued in 2014. Following his return to the U.S., he underwent weeks of interviews with military officials and was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. If convicted at the court-martial, which is scheduled for April 18, 2017, Bergdahl could face life in prison.
If a pardon is not granted and the case extends into Trump’s administration, Bergdahl’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, reportedly said he will try to have the case thrown out since a “fair military trial will be impossible after Mr. Trump becomes commander in chief.”