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Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial

Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial

Bergdahl, who grew up in Hailey, has been assigned to Fort Sam Houston since his May 2014 return to the USA, awaiting a military trial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

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

Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and could face up to life in prison. If granted, he would avoid his pending court martial in April.

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.

Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, walked off from his post in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban and its allies for five years.

Army doctors have said Bergdahl was suffering from a psychiatric disorder when he left his post.

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The US officials have long accused Pakistan's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, of supporting the Haqqani network made up of Taliban fighters in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pres. Barack Obama ignited a firestorm after securing Sgt. Bergdahl's release in 2014 upon acknowledging that the United States had transferred five high-profile Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar in exchange.

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.

After many delays, Bergdahl's court-martial trial is now set to begin in May 2017, under President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

Multiple times during the campaign Trump assailed the deal struck to secure Bergdahl's release.

Trump railed against Bergdahl while on the campaign trail, calling him a "dirty, rotten traitor" and joked about shooting him for abandoning his troops.


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