Local News

Bergdahl back in court for pretrial motion hearings

Posted August 8, 2017 6:56 p.m. EDT
Updated August 13, 2017 7:15 a.m. EDT

— The Army sergeant accused of deserting his post in Afghanistan was back in court at Fort Bragg on Tuesday.

There have been several pretrial motion hearings for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl this year, and many of the rulings have not gone in his favor.

In February, his defense team failed to have the charges dropped because of disparaging comments made about him by President Donald Trump while he was on the campaign trial.

On Tuesday, Bergdahl entered the courtroom surrounded by his legal team minus his lead civilian lawyer, Eugene Fidell. Bergdahl's left arm was in a sling while he recovers from surgery.

In court, Col. Jeffery Nance, the judge overseeing the case, was concerned about the lack of response from 20 potential panel members who could be seated to hear the court martial. During the session, Nance ruled to allow the testimony of two people who were injured while searching for Bergdahl, including former Navy Seal and dog handler, Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hatch.

The court has subpoenaed a CNN interview with Hatch talking about his failed mission to find Bergdahl, which subsequently led to him being severely wounded. He ultimately lost a leg.

The defense was able to have the court suppress statements made by Bergdahl while he was held captive by the Taliban for five years, saying those statements are highly unreliable and prejudicial to their client.

Bergdahl left his remote post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was subsequently held by the Taliban and its allies for about five years. The military probe of Bergdahl began soon after he was freed from captivity on May 31, 2014, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.

The court-martial is scheduled for October.