WASHINGTON - The attorney for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl lashed out Tuesday at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying he was peddling misinformation that would hurt his client's right to a fair trial.
A court-martial is the next step in the case against Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years and freed in an exchange for five Taliban detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.
Bergdahl, 29, of Hailey, Idaho, walked off his post in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province June 30, 2009. He was released in late May 2014 as part of a prisoner swap that touched off a firestorm of criticism, with some in Congress accusing President Obama of jeopardizing the nation's safety with the exchange.
Bergdahl's disappearance and the possibility that he might face light punishment had angered many in the military, given that his fellow soldiers took considerable risks to search for him.
Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, asked that Trump "cease his prejudicial months-long campaign of defamation against our client." In October, Trump called Bergdahl "a no-good traitor, who should have been executed."
Fidell told the Associated Press in an interview that Trump stated more recently in Las Vegas that five soldiers were killed trying to find Bergdahl. The Pentagon has said no one died in the searches.
Trump has pledged to review the case if Bergdahl is not appropriately punished, Fidell said.
"I have no idea what Mr. Trump has in mind," Fidell said, "and I don't think Mr. Trump has any idea of what he has in mind. I think he's a big faker."