Bergdahl not on Obama’s December pardon list
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has granted 78 people pre-Christmas pardons, more than doubling the amount allowed during his eight-year tenure. But accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was not among them.
The White House announced the pardons Monday afternoon alongside Obama’s decision to commute the sentences of 153 other individuals. White House Counsel Neil Eggleston left the door open for additional pardons in Obama’s remaining month in office, perhaps leaving hope for Bergdahl that the president will grant his pardon petition that would spare him a court-martial in April on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
“The president continues to review clemency applications on an individualized basis to determine whether a particular applicant has demonstrated a readiness to make use of his or her second chance, and I expect that the president will issue more grants of both commutations and pardons before he leaves office,” Eggleston wrote Monday in the statement.
The vast majority of the pardons granted Monday were to drug offenders who had already completed their sentences. None of the pardons were granted to individuals, like Bergdahl, who had not already been convicted of a crime, which is possible for a president to do but extremely rare.
Several experts on military law and pardon history have told Stars and Stripes that a pardon for Bergdahl is unlikely. The soldier’s lawyer Eugene Fidell declined to comment Tuesday on the pardon request.
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