Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves court docket at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Nov. 1. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s attorneys concluded their protection Wednesday, bringing the previous Taliban prisoner’s destiny one step nearer to the army choose who will decide whether or not he goes to jail for abandoning his put up in Afghanistan eight years in the past.
Bergdahl, 31, who on Monday apologized to fellow troops injured whereas looking for him after he disappeared, listened whereas the ultimate witnesses dropped at his sentencing listening to mentioned his psychological well being. Closing arguments are anticipated Thursday with an final result potential later within the day or Friday.
The testimony tied collectively two central arguments made by Bergdahl’s authorized staff: that his critical-thinking abilities are compromised, contributing to his determination to stroll off his base and into enemy fingers, and that the torture he endured throughout 5 years of captivity warrants leniency.
Bergdahl has pleaded responsible to desertion and misbehavior earlier than the enemy.
Charles Morgan, a forensic psychologist, instructed the choose, Col. Jeffery R. Nance, that he identified Bergdahl with a schizophrenia-like sickness after talking with the soldier, conducting exams, interviewing relations and reviewing related data.
He’s liable to paranoia, extreme social nervousness, unconventional beliefs and socially awkward conduct, Morgan mentioned. Bergdahl, he added, has contemplated self-castration, believing it will purify him, and has bother understanding the right way to kind social relationships.
Morgan’s findings are in step with an Army sanity board doc, he added, however confused that it isn’t a psychotic situation and that Bergdahl is mentally competent.
Morgan concluded that Bergdahl had the situation earlier than he enlisted within the Army, struggling additionally from post-traumatic stress dysfunction from a hot-tempered father who allegedly punched holes in partitions and despatched Bergdahl fleeing when he heard his father’s truck rumbling towards their house in Idaho.
Bergdahl had a panic badault in Coast Guard coaching in 2006, which led to his dismissal. He joined the Army with a waiver in 2008.
[For those tasked with finding Bowe Bergdahl, deep resentment remains]
Bergdahl has mentioned he left his base in Afghanistan to alert a commander at one other base to points together with his chain of command. That act — to stroll with out a weapon alone in a conflict zone — proves that Bergdahl has an incapability to contemplate the second- and third-order results of his selections or fairly anticipate how different folks will react to sure conditions, Morgan mentioned, and that he’s incapable of weighing various actions.
“I think he believes there are times if it’s the morally right thing to do, you have to break the rules,” he mentioned. “There’s not a thinking through of ‘Are there other ways to achieve this goal?’ ”
The prosecution countered Morgan’s testimony, saying Bergdahl’s preparation forward of leaving his base, akin to mailing his laptop computer house and drawing cash, confirmed indicators of clear considering.
Morgan, whose work focuses on psychological well being amongst former prisoners of conflict, mentioned Bergdahl’s paranoia and intense examine of his environment could have aided his survival these 5 years. POWs who’re pbadive are inclined to have a tough time with the enemy, he mentioned.
But a return to captivity — a possible jail sentence — would exacerbate Bergdahl’s signs and trauma stemming from his time as a prisoner, Morgan mentioned.
“There are things that will be reminiscent” of his time as a prisoner, Morgan mentioned, akin to enclosed areas and lack of independence.
The protection additionally referred to as a cat rescue employee in San Antonio who declined to provide her identify. Bergdahl helped construct an elaborate entice for feral cats and has proven deep emotional attachment to the animals as a “cat whisperer,” she mentioned by telephone.