Donald Trump is facing fire, and perhaps a lawsuit, from Bowe Bergdahl’s attorney after he made a presidential campaign stop and referred to the soldier as a “dirty, rotten traitor” who – he seemed to suggest – ought to be executed.
Bergdahl, the Army soldier who abandoned his Afghanistan post in 2009 and was taken captive by Taliban members – and then traded by President Obama for five Guantanamo Bay detainees – was subsequently charged with desertion and endangering fellow U.S. soldiers.
At a town hall in New Hampshire, Trump referenced the controversial prisoner exchange, which critics say allowed dangerous Taliban commanders to go back into the field, and called Bergdahl a “dirty, rotten traitor.” Trump also seemed to pantomime Bergdahl’s execution while speaking of his release, NBC News reported.
Bergdahl’s attorney, Eugene Fidell, wasn’t happy with the references, saying Trump’s display threatened his client’s right to a fair trial.
Fidell also said in a statement Trump ought to be sued for defamation and said his client, facing a preliminary hearing in the military justice system, is in no position to defend himself from the presidential candidate’s remarks.
“Nor, as a practical matter, is [Bergdahl] in a position, for the moment, to bring the defamation lawsuit Mr. Trump richly deserves,” Fidell said, NBC News reported.
Fidell slammed Trump’s remarks as “unfounded” and reminded Bergdahl’s not been charged with treason.
“[Trump’s comments] directly threaten my client’s right to a fair trail,” he said. “Mr. Trump must stop vilifying this young man who suffered five years of brutal captivity at the hands of the Taliban and deserves to be judged on the basis of evidence rather than slander from someone who has never worn our country’s uniform.”