FORT BRAGG, N.C. – A army decide dominated Friday that Bowe Bergdahl ought to serve no jail time for endangering his comrades by strolling off his Afghanistan submit.
The sentence caps a politically divisive episode that centered on one soldier’s choice that affected many different lives. President Barack Obama was criticized for buying and selling Taliban prisoners to deliver him again. As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump had referred to as for Bergdahl to face stiff punishment.
The decide additionally gave Bergdahl a dishonorable discharge, lowered his rank to non-public and stated he should forfeit pay equal to $1,000 per thirty days for 10 months. The decide made no different feedback.
The dishonorable discharge means he won’t be eligible for VA healthcare or different advantages.
KTVB’s Katie Terhune says Bergdahl was noticeably shaking because the sentence got here down. Bergdahl was rushed out together with his legal professionals after the sentence got here down.
Prosecutors had sought stiff punishment due to wounds to service members who looked for Bergdahl after he disappeared in 2009. He was held captive by Taliban allies for 5 years.
The protection sought to counter that proof with testimony about Bergdahl’s struggling throughout 5 years as a captive of Taliban allies, his contributions to army intelligence and survival instruction and his psychological well being issues.
A punitive discharge deprives Bergdahl of most or all his veterans’ advantages.
Bergdahl had confronted as much as life in jail after pleading responsible to desertion and misbehavior earlier than the enemy.
In closing arguments, protection attorneys argued Bergdahl already suffered sufficient confinement throughout 5 years of brutal captivity by Taliban allies. They requested the decide to offer their shopper a dishonorable discharge and no jail time. Their argument for leniency additionally cited harsh marketing campaign-path criticism by Donald Trump and Bergdahl’s psychological issues.
Capt. Nina Banks, a protection lawyer, stated it would not be justice to rescue Bergdahl from the Taliban “solely to put him in a cell” now.
In the course of the multiday sentencing listening to, Bergdahl himself testified that he was sorry for the injuries suffered by searchers. He additionally described brutal beatings by his captors, sickness introduced on by squalid circumstances and maddening durations of isolation. A psychiatrist testified that his choice to go away his publish was influenced by a schizophrenia-like situation referred to as schizotypal character dysfunction that made it arduous to know penalties of his actions, in addition to publish-traumatic stress dysfunction introduced on partly by a troublesome childhood.
Prosecutors had requested for a sentence of 14 years in jail, citing critical wounds to service members who seemed for Bergdahl.
“Sgt. Bergdahl doesn’t have a monopoly on struggling because of his decisions,” stated Maj. Justin Oshana, a prosecutor.