Bergdahl Recommendations- no jail time, no punitive discharge
The U.S. Army hearing officer in charge of Sgt Bergdahl’s Article 32 hearing released his recommendations on Friday: no jail time, no punitive discharge. The recommendations were expected on Monday, but were released yesterday.
The Army Times reported,
The officer in charge of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s Article 32 hearing has recommended that the soldier accused of desertion avoid jail time for his actions, according to Bergdahl’s civil defense attorney.
Lt. Col. Mark Visger’s report to Gen. Robert Abrams, the head of Army Forces Command who is in charge of the case, also will advise that the matter be decided at a special court-martial, lawyer Eugene Fidell told Army Times on Saturday, confirming reports in other media outlets. Soldiers facing special courts-martial can receive no more than a year in jail and no worse than a bad-conduct discharge; punishments regarding hard labor and pay forfeiture have similar restrictions.
Visger also recommended Bergdahl not face a punitive discharge for his alleged actions, Fidell said. A memo from Bergdahl’s defense team to Visger regarding the report — released late Friday by Fidell to media members — said the officer’s recommendations didn’t go far enough and requested nonjudicial punishment, better known as an Article 15, instead of a special court-martial.
What this means:
This means that unless General Abrams rejects these recommendations (unlikely), Bowe Bergdahl in effect gets off the charges with a slap on the wrist.
The defense has maintained that all papers regarding this case should be made public.
“They should be releasing Col. Visger’s report, they should be releasing Gen. Dahl’s report, they should be releasing Sgt. Bergdahl’s 371-page transcript of his interrogation by Gen. Dahl, I mean, all of this stuff should be released…
We could object to it, but we’re not objecting to it, we want it public. And the chips will fall where they may. … Let people make up their own minds instead of having this all behind a curtain.” Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s defense counsel