Judge: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl won't face jail time, will be dishonorably discharged

04 November, 2017, 01:08 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Judge: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl won't face jail time, will be dishonorably discharged

A military judge has ruled that U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl should serve no prison time for endangering his comrades for walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

The judge also gave Bergdahl a dishonorable discharge, reduced his Army rank from sergeant to private and ordered him to forfeit pay equal to $1,000 per month for 10 months.

Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy on October 16 and faced the possibility of life in prison.

Bergdahl appeared tense, grimaced and clenched his jaw.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys argued that Bergdahl already had suffered enough confinement during five years of brutal captivity by Taliban allies.

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Trump's tweet came about 90 minutes after the sentence was announced. Breaking down, he called abandoning his post a "terrible move" and detailed several unsuccessful escape attempts from his captors.

Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of 14 years of in prison.

A dishonourable discharge, given for the most serious offences, typically means a loss of all veteran and military benefits, including healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Morgan concluded that Bergdahl had the condition before he enlisted in the Army, suffering also from post-traumatic stress disorder from a hot-tempered father who allegedly punched holes in walls and sent Bergdahl fleeing when he heard his father's truck rumbling toward their home in Idaho.

In 2009, Bergdahl abandoned his outpost in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban.

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He was finally freed in a 2014 exchange for five Taliban fighters, a deal that brought strong criticism of then-president Barack Obama.

Nance temporarily halted the sentencing hearing after seeing a video of Trump on October 16 referring to his campaign trail comments in which he said he couldn't talk about Bergdahl, but added, "But I think people have heard my comments in the past".

Major Justin Oshana, for the prosecution, said fellow service members had been injured during the hunt for Bergdahl.

Capt. Nina Banks, a defense attorney, said it wouldn't be justice to rescue Bergdahl from the Taliban "only to place him in a cell" now.

Bergdahl, who has said he wanted to report problems in his unit, apologised in court this week for the suffering he caused his comrades and admitted he had made "a frightful mistake".

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