The final verdict for former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was given today in a North Carolina courtroom.
Those wanting to see Bergdahl serve time in prison for his desertion are going to be disappointed to hear Bergdahl will be walking free.
Per Fox News:
More than eight years after Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan — and unwittingly into the clutches of the Taliban — Bergdahl walked out of a North Carolina courtroom a free man on Friday.
Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades, was fined, reduced in rank to E1 and dishonorably discharged — but he received no prison time.
According to the report, Bergdahl appeared “shaking and appeared emotional” while the judge announced the decision.
The judge sided with the defense team who argued Bergdahl had already suffered enough during his Taliban captivity:
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 decision was seemingly based on two key testimonies:
During the multiday sentencing hearing, Bergdahl himself testified that he was sorry for the wounds suffered by searchers. He also described brutal beatings by his captors, illness brought on by squalid conditions and maddening periods of isolation, most of it in a cramped cage.
A psychiatrist testified that Bergdahl’s decision to leave his post was influenced by a schizophrenia-like condition called schizotypal personality disorder that made it hard to understand consequences of his actions, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder brought on partly by a difficult childhood.
The dishonorable discharge will prevent Bergdahl from “most of all his veterans’ benefits.”
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.