FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl appeared on the witness stand Monday to explain his 5 years in Taliban captivity, a graphic and at occasions disturbing account delivered hours after the presiding choose rejected his legal professionals’ enchantment to have the case dismissed over incendiary remarks made by President Trump throughout his marketing campaign for the White Home.
“It was by no means my intention for anybody to be harm,” mentioned Bergdahl, 31, whereas studying from ready remarks. He apologized for the “horrible mistake” of abandoning his publish in Afghanistan and endangering different U.S. troops tasked with discovering him after his disappearance in 2009. They suffered, he mentioned, “due to my dangerous decisions.”
Bergdahl has pleaded responsible to desertion and misbehavior earlier than the enemy. He faces life in jail.
His testimony got here because the choose, Military Col. Jeffery R. Nance, weighs Trump’s feedback — the president has known as Bergdahl “a grimy rotten traitor” and instructed he ought to be executed — in opposition to the horrific therapy Bergdahl endured whereas in captivity and the testimony of different troops who have been wounded in the course of the search. Although Nance denied Bergdahl’s movement to dismiss the case, he mentioned he would contemplate Trump’s feedback as mitigating proof that might reduce the punishment Bergdahl receives, if any.
[The Army let a convicted murderer into Bowe Bergdahl’s trial. He said ‘I got a firing squad standing by.’]
Throughout his testimony, Bergdahl described being tortured, his failed escape makes an attempt, his declining well being and dimming prospects for survival.
In detailing his captivity, he defined that dust flooring have been preferable to cement as a result of they allowed him to bury the power diarrhea he skilled, thus avoiding additional abuse from indignant guards who threatened to chop off his nostril and ears if he didn’t cease getting sick. He was beat with hoses and stored in a cage a lot of the time, he mentioned.
As he recalled his ordeal, one reminiscence brought on him begin shaking. His face turned crimson. However quite than inform the courtroom what had surfaced in his thoughts, Bergdahl elected to cease.
However the courtroom additionally heard Monday from the prosecution’s last witness, Shannon Allen, whose husband, Mark, a grasp sergeant within the Nationwide Guard, was almost killed whereas trying to find Bergdahl. Allen was paralyzed after being shot within the head whereas on a mission to gather intelligence on Bergdahl’s whereabouts.
“He was very loud and outgoing,” Allen mentioned about her husband earlier than he was wounded. Areas of his mind that have an effect on reminiscence and motor expertise have been eliminated in surgical procedure, she mentioned, and he can now not converse, stroll or take care of himself. She takes him to appointments and emergency room visits when he seems in misery.
“He misplaced me as a spouse. I’ve grow to be his caregiver. It doesn’t imply I really like him any much less,” she mentioned, her voice shaking.
The courtroom was proven a video of Allen readying her husband for the day as he lay almost immobile. The protection crew had objected to scheduling Allen’s testimony, saying the influence on her was too far faraway from Bergdahl’s actions to be thought of a consider his sentencing. However Nance allowed it, saying her testimony conveyed how one soldier’s life has been completely altered.
[For those tasked with finding Bowe Bergdahl, deep resentment remains]
Bergdahl watched the video. And he, too, provided how his actions in 2009 have bled into the current, the place flashbacks and hyper-vigilance, he mentioned, grip him day and evening.
He works an administration job at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Tex., close to a constructing the place animals are stored. Among the many peabads and geese is at the very least one rooster, Bergdahl mentioned, whose name each morning is haunting.
His captors pressured him to look at execution movies. In a single, Bergdahl mentioned, there’s an eery silence earlier than a person’s beheading. After which, he recalled, “You possibly can hear the rooster crowing.”