A lawyer for Bowe Bergdahl, the returned American soldier whose military service in Afghanistan has come under criticism by Donald Trump, said Thursday that the real estate mogul’s remarks are “contemptible and un-American.”
Bergdahl, 29, was released by the Taliban last spring after five years in captivity. He was charged with desertion and faces life in prison after he left his unit in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009.
Trump said at a town hall in Derry, New Hampshire on Wednesday that the sergeant was a “dirty, rotten traitor,” comments that Bergdahl’s lawyer blasted in a statement.
“This is the lowest kind of demagoguery. Mr. Trump’s comments are contemptible and un-American. They are a call for mob justice,” said Eugene Fidell, adding that Trump “richly deserves” a defamation lawsuit.
The White House released five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay in May 2014 to bring Bergdahl back home. Fidell argued that Bergdahl, who is awaiting a hearing in the military justice system, is unable to defend himself from Trump’s accusations, which Fidell said mischaracterized Bergdahl’s alleged crimes to include charges of treason.
“I condemn Mr. Trump’s reckless disregard for the truth. He should be ashamed of himself,” the lawyer said.
Bergdahl’s lawyers will monitor Trump’s upcoming public statements, the lawyer 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,” Fidell wrote.