The Latest: Army’s Handling of Bergdahl Case Gets Scrutiny

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on pretrial hearings taking place this week for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

A military judge has expressed skepticism that letters destroyed by a top general are relevant to the prosecution of Bowe Bergdahl on charges that he deserted his post in Afghanistan.

The judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, is likely to decide Monday whether the general must testify this week during pretrial hearings this week at Fort Bragg.

Bergdahl’s attorneys argue that Gen. Robert B. Abrams faced improper conflicts when he referred Bergdahl for a general court-martial rather than a lower-level prosecution. He has acknowledged burning dozens of letters that were largely from the public regarding the Bergdahl case.

The destruction of the letters is one of several arguments by the defense that Abrams should be disqualified from the case.

Prosecutors argue the letters didn’t constitute evidence and that Abrams shouldn’t be required to testify.

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Attorneys for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will try to convince a judge this week that the U.S. military has mishandled its prosecution of the soldier on charges that he deserted his post in Afghanistan.

Among the issues being considered during pretrial hearings is whether Gen. Robert B. Abrams faced improper conflicts when he referred Bergdahl for a general court-martial rather than a lower-level prosecution.

Defense attorneys argue that Abrams, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, should be disqualified from the case because of a prior advisory role during efforts to return Bergdahl from captivity. In a separate motion, the defense contends Abrams was influenced by negative comments by U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Legal experts say the motions are longshots, but are likely to stoke courtroom drama.

Bergdahl is from Hailey, Idaho.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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