FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump's fiery criticism of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has put the desertion case against the soldier on uncertain ground as a judge considers whether he can still get a fair trial for walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
The judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, called video of Trump repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor during campaign speeches "disturbing" during a pre-trial hearing Monday. He also asked prosecutors pointed questions about whether Trump's criticism has already created a public perception that Bergdahl won't be treated fairly.
Bergdahl's lawyers argue the comments violate their client's due-process rights and that the charges against him should be dismissed. The judge didn't immediately rule on the defense request, and a written decision was expected later.
Prosecutors counter that Trump's comments were campaign rhetoric.