Judge Rules: Bowe Bergdahl to Serve no Prison Time
After the emotional trial of Bowe Bergdahl, Fox reports that the military judge, Army Col Jeffrey R. Nance, has ruled that he will receive only a dishonorable discharge and no prison time. He will be reduced in rank to an E1, and will forfeit $1000 per month pay for 10 months. Not everyone is happy about the sentence.
The prosecution had asked for a 14 year prison sentence. He plead guilty to the charges of Misbehavior Before the Enemy and Desertion on October 16, and chose to be tried by a military judge rather than a jury. He faced the possibility of life in prison…now he is set completely free.
Prosecutors had requested a 14-year prison term following a week of emotional testimony from the survivors who were wounded during missions to find Bergdahl after he left the base in June 2009. Bergdahl’s defense team has asked for no prison time.
Bergdahl faced up to life in prison for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Wearing a blue dress uniform, Bergdahl appeared tense during the short morning session. He clenched his jaw as if grinding his teeth, then grimaced and looked at the floor when he walked out of the courtroom.
In closing arguments, defense attorneys argued that Bergdahl already had suffered enough confinement during five years of brutal captivity by Taliban allies. They asked the judge for a dishonorable discharge and no prison time. Their argument for leniency also cited harsh campaign-trail criticism by Donald Trump and Bergdahl’s mental disorders.
The judge had previously ruled that Trump’s criticism would not affect the outcome.
The defense argued that he should never have been in the Army because he had an undiagnosed mental illness. It appears that sympathy for Bergdahl’s time in “captivity” and his long wait for trial got its desired effect in this case.
According to CNN, Bergdahl is appealing the dishonorable discharge, which is likely to infuriate many. All but the dishonorable discharge is effective immediately.