Last time we heard anything from the second season of Serial, the once-weekly podcast focusing on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s ongoing story announced a new every-other-week schedule for new episodes. Episode five, “Meanwhile, in Tampa,” was released just over a week later on Thursday without much fanfare. However, that all might change once host Sarah Koenig and her staff at NPR finish digesting the news that Bergdahl’s defense team is considering calling a certain Republican presidential candidate to the stand. Yes, we’re talking about Donald Trump.
Bloomberg View reports that Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s defense lawyer for the soldier’s upcoming court martial, might call on Trump as a witness due to the New York real estate mogul’s “repeated public smears” against his client. “We’ve made no decision yet on whether to call Mr. Trump as a witness,” he told Bloomberg, adding that his team would “continue to monitor [Trump’s] defamatory statements” about Bergdahl.
So what has Trump been saying about the former prisoner of war who spent five years being tortured in Afghanistan? Quite a lot, it turns out. During a political rally this past October, the Republican front-runner ranted against the U.S. Army sergeant for abandoning his post.
“We’re tired of Sgt. Bergdahl, who’s a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed,” Trump said to cheers at a rowdy rally inside a packed Las Vegas theater at the casino-hotel Treasure Island.
“Thirty years ago,” Trump added, “he would have been shot.”
After Trump made these and other remarks at similar functions, Bergdahl’s defense team filed court documents that same month highlighting the possible legal ramifications of the presidential candidate’s behavior. Specifically, that his continued diatribes against the Serial subject would harm the possibility of his ever having a fair trial.
“His pattern of doing so, with the full glare of public attention before mass audiences around the country, materially threatens SGT Bergdahl’s right to fair consideration by the convening authority as well as in a court-martial.”
However, legal and military law experts suggest that, while Trump’s numerous public lashings of Bergdahl’s character are “unfair,” that doesn’t mean they could (or will) harm his legal case. Not to mention other presidential candidates, politicians and public figures who have spoken out against the White House’s prisoner exchange that resulted in the sergeant’s return home. As Bloomberg points out, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) is the only other figure identified by name in Fidell’s court documents.
In the highly unlikely event a military judge deems it necessary to require Trump to testify during the election season, Serial‘s ratings would skyrocket into numbers no podcast has ever seen before. Unfortunately for the popular NPR true crime program, however, the Donald’s date in court probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
(Via Bloomberg View)