Bowe Bergdahl should spend 14 years in prison and lose his medical benefits, Army says


U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Bowdrie “Bowe” Bergdahl is escorted into the Fort Bragg navy courthouse for the seventh day of sentencing proceedings on Nov. 2 in North Carolina. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Army prosecutors really helpful Thursday that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has pleaded responsible to deserting his Army submit in Afghanistan, ought to spend 14 years in jail and be stripped of most advantages afforded to navy veterans, together with well being care.

Bergdahl’s attorneys, citing medical consultants’ dedication that jail time might exacerbate his fragile psychological well being, have recommended he obtain a dishonorable discharge solely, which along with the lack of well being care might drastically complicate his future employment choices.

The choose, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, closed the courtroom earlier than midday Thursday to deliberate. In addition to the desertion fees, Bergdahl, 31, additionally has pleaded responsible to misbehavior earlier than the enemy, which carries a most life sentence. Nance is predicted to make his choice as early as Friday.

[The Army let a convicted badbadin into Bowe Bergdahl’s trial. He mentioned ‘I got a firing squad standing by.’]

Maj. Justin Oshana, the federal government’s lead prosecutor, condemned Bergdahl’s choice to go away his base in Afghanistan’s Paktika province on June 30, 2009. Bergdahl was taken prisoner by the Taliban, who usually tortured him throughout 5 years of captivity. His disappearance triggered “dangerous, hasty missions” to recuperate him, Oshana mentioned.

Several troops concerned within the search sustained severe wounds throughout the search effort. Among them was Master Sgt. Mark Allen, who was shot within the head throughout a mission to gather intelligence on Bergdahl’s whereabouts. His spouse, Shannon, instructed the courtroom Tuesday that her husband now not can communicate, stroll or look after himself consequently.

“Sgt. Bergdahl,” Oshana mentioned, “does not have a monopoly on suffering as a result of his choices.”

Nance knowledgeable Bergdahl dishonorable discharge from the Army can be socially stigmatizing and block him from financial alternatives, together with beneficiant residence loans provided by way of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the GI Bill, which offers a free school schooling to all navy personnel who serve honorably. Bergdahl instructed the choose that he understood and that the advice from his protection crew displays how desperately he hopes to keep away from additional confinement.

Capt. Nina Banks, who gave the protection’s remarks, mentioned the punishment for Bergdahl’s “horrible decision” to go away his base was largely paid out by his years in captivity, throughout which he was severely overwhelmed and suffered lasting bodily and psychological accidents. The prosecution, Banks argued, goals to self-discipline Bergdahl on the stage of retribution.

Bergdahl’s punishment, she added, shouldn’t be “an eye for an eye.”

Nance additionally ought to weigh Bergdahl’s badysis of a schizophrenia-like sickness, which an professional mentioned distorted Bergdahl’s capability to suppose by way of the results of his actions, Banks mentioned.

She known as a dishonorable discharge the suitable punishment.

Banks additionally cited President Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric throughout his bid for the White House, when he known as Bergdahl a “dirty, rotten traitor,” prompting cheers from his supporters. That has worsened Bergdahl’s hyper-vigilance and prompts him to be on guard to fend off potential badaults by somebody who shares these opinions, she mentioned.

Trump’s feedback, Banks added, fulfill one other issue Nance ought to contemplate: As commander in chief, he despatched a message “loud and clear” to all troops that Bergdahl’s offenses had been extreme, making deterrence redundant.

Appearing on the witness stand Tuesday, Bergdahl mentioned he repeatedly tried to flee his captors as a result of he didn’t need the Taliban to declare victory by way of the propaganda worth of his confinement, which Banks inspired the choose to weigh.

“They didn’t win, your honor,” Banks mentioned to Nance. “Sergeant Bergdahl didn’t win either.”

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