March 6, 2016

"Attorneys for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said Saturday they may seek a deposition from presidential contender Donald Trump..."

"... or call him as a witness at a legal proceeding, saying they fear his comments could affect their client's right to a fair trial."

What Trump said — showing a clumsy feel for the rule of law — was that Bergdahl is a "traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed."

This takes me back to 1970, when the headline read: "President Nixon may have freed Charles Manson-not by an act of executive clemency, but by one of errant stupidity."

What Nixon said was "Here is a man who was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders without reason." Manson's response was: "Here's a man who is accused of hundreds of thousands of murders, accusing me of being accused of eight murders."

Here's David Brinkley reporting it in the soberly black-and-white serioso tones of the past:

38 comments:

rhhardin said...

Trump can say anything he wants. I don't see how rule of law conflicts with it.

He's not giving jury instructions, directly or indirectly.

Gahrie said...

Trump is a public figure, not a public official (yet). His comments could not possibly bias the traitor's trial anymore than mine can.

By the way, Trump is right on this one.

jaydub said...

This illustrates why a buffoonish blowhard would be so dangerous in the White House.

jaydub said...

rh, as CinC he would command both sides of the trial team, plus the courts-martial members and the defendent, not to mention being the last appeal in the case of a conviction. Hopefully, that eventuality will never come to pass as regards Trump, but it does matter. More than one courts-martial conviction has been overturned for undue command influence at a much lower level than the CinC, and this trial and potential appeals would likely not be concluded before the next president took office. If anyone does suspect Bergdahl to be guilty of a serious offence under the UCMJ (I do,) all the more reason to hope the potential chain of command has the good sense to keep their mouths shut.

dreams said...

Trump tells it like it is which is the basis for his appeal. The lawyers and liberals will try anything to get what they want.

Gusty Winds said...

Trump isn't the one who traded Islamic Terrorists for a deserter.

He also didn't parade the deserter's parents around the Rose Garden for some type of moral victory lap.

Come on.

jr565 said...

So, until he is found guilty no one can have a comment on his guilt or innocence? Even in a presidential debate?

Gusty Winds said...

Bergdahl has the White House on his side. That's a pretty powerful advocate vested in saving its own face.

jaydub said...

jr565, No, just no one in his chain of command who has to act on a courts-martial's conviction.

Gusty Winds said...

Wonder if Bergdahl's lawyers are calling the Serial podcast producers as witnesses?

They're just hopping on the #trumptrain.

MisterBuddwing said...

Here's David Brinkley reporting it in the soberly black-and-white serioso tones of the past ...

Just for the pedantic record, NBC had been broadcasting exclusively in color for years (the occasional B&W Saturday Night at the Movies notwithstanding).

This clip is in black and white because it was recorded - and preserved - by the TV news archive at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Vanderbilt started doing that in 1968 after it found out the Big Three networks weren't routinely saving their nightly newscasts. (At first, Vanderbilt used industrial-grade B&W videotape recorders, switching over to color in the late 1970s.)

Note the MSNBC bug in the corner, suggesting this clip was used in a special about Charles Manson. It must have been extremely satisfying for Vanderbilt when the TV networks starting coming around, asking, "Can we buy copies of the newscasts we didn't bother to save in the first place?"

Darrell said...

Obama comments on every current case, especially those with some racial angle or those dealing with Muslims. Cut the shit.

Darrell said...

You need a "Trump is like Obama" tag.

Bob Ellison said...

Thanks for some interesting points of history, MisterBuddwing.

James Pawlak said...

Will B. H. Obama do the same at his trial---For TREASON?

James Pawlak said...

That slug should be tried by a Military Commission--In the same legal, precise, efficient and fair method as used in the trial of those who were involved in the murder of President Lincoln.

Fritz said...

Spaghetti, wall.

jaydub said...

"Obama comments on every current case, especially those with some racial angle or those dealing with Muslims. Cut the shit."

It doesn't matter what civilian criminal cases the President comments on if he is coming down on the side of the accused, except for the unseemliness of it which doesn't seem to affect Obama. The prosecution can't appeal if the accused is aquitted, and the defense could not appeal a conviction based on favorable comments that were not prejudicial to the accused. Nixon's comments were only an issue because his comments were prejudicial to the accused. A courts-martial is different in that both the defense and prosecution ultimately work for the CinC, hence the command influence issue. It's not really "shit", it goes to the basic fairness of the military justice system.

Skeptical Voter said...

Jaydub---Obozo gave a Rose Garden appearance to Bowe Bergdahl's parents. Was that weighing in to influence the military?

And despite what you might suspect about Bathhouse Barry's metrosexuality, he also appeared to cop a feel of Mrs. Bergdahl's posterior. (Some things Democrat Presidents just do naturally. Jimmuh Carter was an exception in that he only lusted in his heart.)

jaydub said...

"Jaydub---Obozo gave a Rose Garden appearance to Bowe Bergdahl's parents. Was that weighing in to influence the military?"

Most people who I know in the military were appalled at what he did. I think it was his national security advisor who took it to the next level and called Bergdahl's service "exemplary," or some such BS. Regardless, I don't think the current administration is a good example to cite as regards appropriate conduct.

Darrell said...

It doesn't matter what civilian criminal cases the President comments on if he is coming down on the side of the accused. . .

Except Obama comes down on the side of the dead thug. The accused is the person facing criminal charges, the person defending themselves and others.

mccullough said...

"The rule of law" is a concept to keep the ignorant distracted

coupe said...

I'd meet with them and tell them to get the trial done before January, because in February he will be blindfolded and shot by seven rifles of the Green Beret's.

Go for life in prison now, while you can.

mccullough said...

Obama is going to commute his sentence to time served before he leaves office, which is a just result.

Beldar said...

Trump has something like 150 lawsuits pending against him personally at any given time. That's because in most of the commercial transactions in which his companies get sued for breach of contract -- and there are TONS of those -- there have also been deliberate misrepresentations made by Trump, or on his behalf by his authorized agents, which form the basis for civil fraud claims against him personally.

With every step he takes toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, every one of those cases gets harder to settle. And every time he insists on a confidentiality clause to bury one of his skeletons, the cost for that, in the settlement dickering, goes up and up as he has more and more to lose through bad publicity.

All the lawyers who are suing Trump for anything right now are licking their chops and scheduling their depositions. Trump's lawyers will fight hard, and with considerable success, to limit his exposure to depositions. They'll use the "apex deposition doctrine," which requires the party seeking his evidence to have first worked his way up through the chain of command, to show that Trump's personal testimony is necessary and likely to be relevant. But he's so loose about putting his name, face, and personal endorsements on his projects that he makes it quite a bit easier for opposing lawyers to jump through those hoops.

When it comes to potential legal embarrassments, Trump is like the Titanic if it were an iceberg magnet. His bankruptcies, his lawsuits, his tax returns -- each and every one of these is a source of continuing embarrassments and disclosures that will continue to cripple him from now until November if he's the nominee.

William said...

From watching the clip, you get the sense that Brinkley was more simpatico with Manson than Nixon. Sure, Charley had his excesses, but when it comes to pure evil nothing can top Nixon.......Besides the Rose Garden service didn't Obama send one of his spokesman out to speak of Bergdahl's "honorable service". Obama has put his thumb on the scale in a number of cases, but he never gets called out on it.......I would like to have a reporter ask him or Hillary point blank ifs hey think George Zimmerman is innocent.

Beldar said...

@ mccullough, who wrote (3/6/16, 11:45 AM): "The rule of law" is a concept to keep the ignorant distracted."

Get back to me on that when next you're in serious legal trouble, criminal or civil. I have lots of clients who felt that way while they weren't in trouble. After they desperately need me or another lawyer to invoke the Rule of Law on their behalves, not so much.

mccullough said...

Beldar,

I am a lawyer. And the reason I am effective for my clients is because I am a realist and not a fool like you.

EDH said...

It wasn't Nixon's statement that put the Manson trial in jeopardy. As I recall it was the defendant Manson showing a smuggled copy of the newspaper headline into the courtroom and showing it to the jury.

At least in the Healter Skelter telling the judge would not allow Manson to profit from his misconduct, and interviewed each juror, one of whom said "I didn't vote for Mr. Nixon myself".

HoodlumDoodlum said...

No, this makes sense--generals publicly talking about the need to creack down on sexual assault and believe victims isn't undue command influence on ongoing military trials bit some loudmouth candidate's/unelected citizen's spouting off/offering an opinion on a defendant is.
Let's just say Trump "acted stupidly" and just move on.

EDH said...

Steve Railsback does a stirring Manson rant in Healte Skelter:

"I'm a reflection of you. I'm what you made me."

Trump could say the same to many of his detractors.

And look to the Ricardo Mantelban in the Naked Gun to also explain Trump:

Jane: How could you do something so vicious.

Vincent Ludwig: It was easy my dear. You forget I spent two years as a building contractor.

Fabi said...

It's not something you get to enjoy every day on the blogs, but mccullough's 1:01 reply to Beldar wins the coveted "Golden Mic Drop" award.

cubanbob said...

The facts in evidence are the facts in evidence and Trump's bloviating doesn't alter them.

Michael K said...

Where is Freder to give us the idiot POV ?

Bergdahl is an Obama triumph. Hopefully that will be over January 21, 2017.

SukieTawdry said...

If it were a civilian trial, Trump could mouth off all he wants. Bloviators got to bloviate. But, he's auditioning for the position of Commander-in-Chief and that sounds suspiciously like an order.

Largo said...

(But as he is not in the position for which he is auditioning, it cannot be an order.)

Brando said...

It's amazing that Nixon and Obama--both lawyers--would make the mistake of commenting on a pending trial (though perhaps when Obama praised Bergdahl it wasn't clear that he would end up on trial). Unforced errors.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Brando said...3/7/16, 7:52 AM

It's amazing that Nixon and Obama--both lawyers--would make the mistake of commenting on a pending trial

At the time when Nixon spoke about Charles Manson, that (avoiding prejudicing the jury by avoding publicity) was a relatively recent doctrine.

Sheppard v. Maxwell 384 U.S. 333 (1966)

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/384/333/case.html

Of course, in the George Zimmernan/Trayvon MArtin cae, with demonstrations demanding taht some person be put on trial - there could hardly big a bigger no-no - all that was ignored.