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Bergdahl Hearing Expected to Focus on Criticism from Trump

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is seen leaving a courtroom after a pretrial hearing in Fort Bragg, NC., Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is seen leaving a courtroom after a pretrial hearing in Fort Bragg, NC., Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Lawyers for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will try to convince a judge that he cannot get a fair trial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy because of highly charged statements made by President Donald Trump.

A pretrial hearing Monday before a military judge at Fort Bragg is expected to focus on statements that Trump made during the presidential campaign. Trump called Bergdahl a "traitor" repeatedly and said he deserved a harsh punishment.

Bergdahl is scheduled for trial in April. He is accused of endangering the lives of soldiers who searched for him after he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

Military prosecutors say reasonable observers would understand that Trump's comments amounted to campaign rhetoric and should not be taken literally.

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