White House confirms Bowe Bergdahl is requesting pardon from President Obama

Posted at 12:59 PM, Dec 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-03 21:56:45-05

Hailey native, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, is asking President Obama to grant him a pardon before leaving office.

Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after leaving his post in Afghanistan.

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

If President Obama grants the pardon,  it would prevent a court martial scheduled for April 2017.

Time is of the essence for Bergdahl. President Obama’s last day in office is January 20 and comments made by President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign aren’t particularly promising for Bergdahl.

Trump once described the soldier as a “no good traitor, who should have been executed.”  At another campaign event in Las Vegas in October, the president-elect also said of Bergdahl, “Thirty years ago, he would have been shot.”

Bergdahl’s lead defense attorney, Eugene Fidcourtell, has said in the past Trump’s comments threatened his client’s right to a fair trial.

If President Obama does not grant the pardon and Bergdahl is convicted on both charges, he could be sentenced to life in prison.