The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service Founding Attorney Eric Montalvo
recently appeared on Federal News Radio’s ‘Legal Loop’
to discuss recent developments in the Bowe Bergdahl case. Bergdahl, who
has become the centerpiece in the new season of the popular podcastSerial, has been arraigned for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. During
the segment, Montalvo comments on the case being handled via a general
court martial – rather than the lower-level tribunal previously
recommended – and how Bergdahl’s recent actions may have sparked
the development of the case.
Listen to Eric Montalvo on Federal News Radio's Legal Loop here!
According to Montalvo, the venue in which military cases are heard is determined
by fact specific situations in each case and that ultimately, “the
facts drive the forum determination.” The fact that the Army made
the decision to try the matter in a general court martial, not a special
court martial, speaks to the seriousness of the nature of the charges,
and exposes Bergdahl to a life sentence. As Montalvo notes, however, Bergdahl
is unlikely to receive a life sentence.
Another interesting element Montalvo comments on is the latest season of
Serial, in which Bergdahl claims that there were dangerous leadership failures
and that his ‘desertion’ was the only way to bring attention
to it. As Montalvo points to the possible connection between the charging
decision and Bergdahl’s speaking out on the podcast, he cites that
Bergdahl’s statements may very well remove all doubt from the
mens rea element of the case, which focuses on his state of mind and thought process
of an individual during the time of the alleged offense. In his statements on
Serial, Bergdahl explicitly reveals that he knew what he was doing, and he understood
at that time he would probably be in trouble. Those acknowledgements may
have sparked the Army’s decision to pursue the case.
Montalvo, who regularly provides legal commentary on high-profile and complex
cases, gives insight into the Bergdahl matter as a military prosecutor
and defense attorney with over 20 years of experience. Learn more about