Bowe Bergdahl Has Desertion Conviction Vacated By Judge

 Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier who was captured in Afghanistan and later traded for five Taliban leaders in a prisoner exchange, has had his desertion conviction vacated after a federal judge said the original case could have been clouded by a conflict of interest. 

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton vacated the desertion conviction for Bergdahl this week. Under President Barack Obama, Bergdahl was traded for five Taliban leaders who had been detained in Guantanamo Bay. 

According to Walton, because military judge Jeffrey Nance did not disclose his application to be an immigration judge under then-President Donald Trump, Nance’s presiding over Bergdahl’s trial could be construed as a conflict of interest because Trump had been vocally critical of Bergdahl. 

The judge said that Nance’s neutrality was “undermined” because “he might be inclined to appeal to the president’s expressed interest in the plaintiff’s conviction and punishment when applying for the immigration judge position.” 

“Namely, the military judge in this case submitted a writing sample along with his application, consisting of an order in which he denied the plaintiff’s [Bergdahl] unlawful-command-influence motion which was based on President Trump’s statements, and ruled against the plaintiff — both actions that a reasonable person might view as serving the president’s interest in this case,” Walton’s ruling said. 

Bergdahl was imprisoned and tortured by the Taliban for five years after walking away from his post in 2009. He said that he was going to report poor leadership in his unit, according to the Associated Press. 


After the Obama administration negotiated for a trade with the Taliban, Bergdahl returned to the U.S. where he was tried and pled guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl escaped jail time but was made to forfeit $10,000 in pay and was dishonorably discharged. 

While campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump called Bergdahl a “dirty rotten traitor.” Trump also said that Bergdahl’s sentence was not strong enough, saying that it was “a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.”

Four of the five Taliban members released in exchange for Bergdahl joined the Taliban’s hardline government in Afghanistan after the group took over in the fall of 2021. 

Bowe Bergdahl Has Desertion Conviction Vacated By Judge Bowe Bergdahl Has Desertion Conviction Vacated By Judge Reviewed by Your Destination on July 27, 2023 Rating: 5

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