Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl desertion sentence: Dishonorable discharge, no prison time

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl desertion sentence: Dishonorable discharge, no prison time

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl desertion sentence: Dishonorable discharge, no prison time

A United States military judge ruled Friday that Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who deserted his Afghanistan post only to be held captive by insurgents for five years, would serve no prison time after a politically charged trial.

"The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military", Trump tweeted from Air Force One, as he headed to Asia for a marathon trip of almost two weeks.

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that the decision allowing Bowe Bergdahl not to serve prison time is a "complete and total disgrace".

The sergeant already has a job offer from an animal sanctuary, and a military official who helps design survival training said he would like to use Bergdahl as a part of lectures to service members on how to survive captivity.

Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy on October 16 and faced the possibility of life in prison.

In court, Bergdahl appeared tense, grimaced and clenched his jaw. His actions endangered comrades, wounding some, and he faced the possibility of life in prison at one point, though prosecutors were asking for a 14-year sentence. Bergdahl, 31, was held by the Taliban for five years before being released in a prisoner swap in 2014. He called the case a "terrible ordeal" for Bergdahl.

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Bergdahl "is grateful to everyone who searched for him in 2009, especially those who heroically sustained injuries", Fidell added.

A punitive discharge deprives Bergdahl of most or all his veterans' benefits.

Soldiers, relatives of soldiers, experts, a psychiatrist, and Bergdahl himself testified during the sentencing hearing. Bergdahl was subsequently captured by the Taliban and spent five years in brutal captivity.

Capt. Nina Banks, a defense attorney, said it wouldn't be justice to rescue Bergdahl from the Taliban "only to place him in a cell" now. Republicans roundly criticized Obama, and Trump went further while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor who deserved serious punishment. He said he walked away from his post in remote Afghanistan to alert commanders of issues at the post.

Nance temporarily halted the sentencing hearing after seeing a video of Trump on October 16 referring to his campaign trail comments in which he said he couldn't talk about Bergdahl, but added, "But I think people have heard my comments in the past".

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