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Fri Jan 22, 2016, 10:01 PM

Bergdahl lawyer may call Trump as witness in U.S. court-martial

Source: Reuters

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump has made "appalling" comments about Bowe Bergdahl and may be called as a witness in the Army sergeant's court-martial on a desertion charge, one of Bergdahl's lawyers said on Friday.

Eugene Fidell, a military law attorney at Yale Law School who is defending Bergdahl, said on CNN that Bergdahl's legal team has been monitoring statements by the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in November's election as possibly affecting his client's right to a fair trial.

Fidell said the defense team has compiled an eight-page log of "some of the various appalling comments that Mr. Trump has made in an effort to it's like a lynch mob actually to incite ill will and vilification of Sergeant Bergdahl."

Bergdahl is accused of abandoning his combat outpost in Afghanistan before being captured by the Taliban in 2009.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-bergdahl-trump-idUSKCN0V02NA

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Response to IDemo (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 11:13 PM

1. "Permission to treat the witness as hostile"? I would pay to see this... tRump under oath!!!!

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Response to winstars (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 07:19 PM

13. They'd have to figure how to convince a judge Trump's testimony would be necessary

which it would not.

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Response to onenote (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 07:35 PM

14. Didn't really think it might happen but one can hope....

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Response to winstars (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 07:47 PM

15. I don't think Trump would even challenge a subpoena.

 

He would welcome the media circus and extra attention, and would freely and vividly testify as to his opinions about Bergdahl, many of which are shared by a majority of all Americans, and certainly an overwhelming majority of Republican primary voters. Don't confuse your opinions concerning Bergdahl with those of other voting citizens.

Your hopes of some political gain by treating Trump as a "hostile witness" are also, at best, wishful thinking. All that effectively means is defense counsel can ask leading questions. It does not alter the rules of evidence, and would not permit extended discussions of politics would would be undeniably irrelevant as a legal matter. As a litigation attorney, I can assure you that such theatrics by defense counsel often backfire, and given the conservative/Republican slant of members of the military, the strategy is foolish.

As I indicated earlier, Trump's testimony would be completely immaterial as a legal matter and a judge, no less in a military court, would never allow it. Defense counsel is just trying to get some press and hoping it may lead to a better plea offer from the prosecutors. The tactic only reveals the extent of weakness in the defense case. If you're a Bergdahl supporters, this is not good news.

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Response to branford (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 10:19 PM

16. Hey pal, switch to the decaf, you might be less of a jerk.

This is an internet forum, not a courtroom and I would appreciate it if you left your condescending BS attitude where you work.

"Don't confuse your opinions concerning Bergdahl with those of other voting citizens." Thanks for the free advice.

"Your hopes of some political gain by treating Trump as a "hostile witness" are also, at best, wishful thinking." Thanks for the free advice.

"I can assure you that such theatrics by defense counsel often backfire, and given the conservative/Republican slant of members of the military, the strategy is foolish." Thanks for the free advice.

"If you're a Bergdahl supporters, this is not good news." Thanks for the free advice.


As I indicated earlier, try being a little less condescending in the to and fro here at DU, it makes it a much better place when we do so.

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Response to winstars (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 11:29 PM

17. Your original post was a link to a legal website concerning the definition of "hostile witness,"

 

and you're surprised someone (among many here at DU) who actually has a practical understanding of both the meaning and effect of both the term and the obvious defense strategy might comment, disagree with you, and take the matter more seriously.

I view the defense tactic as an intentional abuse of the legal process, and I imagine the assigned judge will share my opinion if the lawyer actually has the chutzpah to subpoena Trump. Although I'm not very positively disposed toward Bergdahl based on the information I've read or his own recent statements, I still believe he's entitled to a fair trial. Despite defense counsel's otherwise impressive resume, he seems to care more garnering attention and furthering his own politics than defending his client. The fact that the defense strategy might actually improve Trump's popularity, particularly in important swing states, makes it all the more galling.

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Response to IDemo (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 11:30 PM

2. Does Trump have any obligation to show?

 

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Response to TipTok (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 05:16 AM

9. The John is still subject to subpoena, proving even a walking bag of dogshit isn't above the law.n/t

 

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Response to IDemo (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 11:37 PM

3. This could be UUUUUUGE!

 

but i doubt the judge will go for it

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Response to IDemo (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 11:40 PM

4. Trump will not be a witness.

 

First, he has no personal knowledge of any relevant facts concerning Bergdahl.

Second, he has no command influence over his trial.

Third, statement by celebrities and politicians, to the extent relevant, are admissible without calling them as witnesses.

Lastly, Trump, like anyone else, is free to have and express any opinion he wishes concerning Bergdahl, The attorney's claim that he might bring a defamation claim is ludicrous (and he knows it).

The attorney is trying to gain some publicity and possibly seek to influence the jury pool or public opinion in favor of his client as a means of protest against Trump. Not only will this strategy likely have little to no positive effect on a military jury, it'll likely be used by Trump to his political benefit and/or result in potential ethical problems for the attorney or disgust by the assigned judge,

If Bergdahl's primary legal strategy is based on such nonsense, he's doomed.

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Response to branford (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 22, 2016, 11:49 PM

5. If Trump would be called to testify he would go up

another 10% in the polls, Republicans love to hate Bergdahl.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 12:13 AM

6. At least they get something right...

 

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Response to branford (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 12:27 AM

7. +1

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Response to branford (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 02:13 AM

8. On the other hand Trump has no personal knowledge

of any relevant facts not concerning Bergdahl.

As to Bergdahl, he probably needs to shut up and make the best deal he can. Maybe he can stay out of prison.

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Response to IDemo (Original post)


Response to IDemo (Original post)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 02:11 PM

11. RW lie, they care absolutely NOTHING for veterans.

They only support the war machine, not the people who carry out their war dreams. They will spend untold billions on these war machines and munitions, yet constantly refuse to help the service men and women in any way at all that would take one penny from building more totally unnecessary and usually redundant lethal toys. Food stamps, a raise, forget about it, let them starve - until they go to war and have to eat substandard food from Halliburton. Oh, they are all about paying Halliburton, just don't require that the service members get good qualify food and accommodations. Bergdahl was having mental issues, got no help and went walkabout and got captured. Did he betray our nation, no. If Bush was president, we'd have never heard of this at all, it'd all be OK. But since Obama was president, this is important?

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Response to lark (Reply #11)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 05:30 PM

12. SGT Bergdhal of course isn't a veteran since he remains on active duty. When he is discharged and

does become a veteran, the characterization of his service will determine which veterans benefits he will receive. From what I've read about his case, I'm not expecting his discharge to be honorable. I don't know if the court martial will call for a a dishonorable discharge, but I wouldn't be surprised at all by a Bad Conduct Discharge given his diminished mental capability,

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