Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump was Bergdahl’s most vocal critic, saying repeatedly the soldier is a traitor who would have been executed in the “old days”. In a July speech in Indiana, Trump lamented that Bergdahl could wind up with a light punishment.“Remember the old days? A deserter, what happened?” he said before pantomiming pulling a trigger and adding: “Bang.”Bergdahl’s lead defense lawyer, Eugene Fidell, declined to comment on the pardon request. But Fidell said he plans to file a motion seeking dismissal of the charges against Bergdahl shortly after the January inauguration, arguing Trump violated Bergdahl’s constitutional due-process rights.The defense has been noting Trump’s comments about Bergdahl in what they have called the “Trump Defamation Log”. A version included in the court record lists 40 such instances as of August.“All of these things put together and repeated rally upon rally for basically a year have a cumulative effect that I think is totally at odds with the right to a fair trial,” Fidell said in a phone interview.A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to emails seeking comment.There is precedent for a military judge to decide a president’s comments have tainted a military prosecution.