With time running out for the current administration, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is making the first move in a request for a pardon from President Obama.
Bergdahl formally asked Obama for a pardon in a letter thanking him for rescuing him in a controversial exchange for five Guantánamo Bay prisoners in 2014, according to two senior US officials, Fox News reported.
Bergdahl, who was captured during the Afghanistan War and held hostage by the Taliban for five years before Obama intervened, did not request the pardon through the normal military chain of command. His letter was sent to the president via the Department of Justice and a copy was sent to the the Secretary of the Army, according to Fox.
After many delays, Bergdahl’s court-martial trial is now set to begin in May 2017, under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. Trump was critical of the soldier during the presidential election campaign, calling him a traitor for allegedly abandoning his Army outpost in Afghanistan before being captured by the militant Taliban group in 2009.
There has been speculation that Obama would issue a pardon to Bergdahl for the charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy prior to leaving office in January. Bergdahl’s letter now forces the president to respond, either to grant or deny the request.
Pentagon and White House officials did not respond to requests for a comment, according to Fox, but a Justice Department official confirmed that it received the pardon petition.
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