Bowe Bergdahl, Called a 'Traitor' by President Trump, Pleads Guilty
Oct 17, 2017, 00:25
A military prosecutor says he has made no agreement to limit punishment for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in return for the soldier's guilty pleas to charges that he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. Despite his plea, the prosecution and defense have not agreed to a stipulation of facts in the case, according to one of his lawyers, Maj.
"I left my observation post on my own", Bergdahl told a court martial in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to CNN. The desertion charge carries a potential five-year sentence, while the misbehavior charge is punishable by life in prison. He was released in a 2014 prisoner exchange for five Taliban prisoners.
Six soldiers died hunting for Bergdahl in Afghanistan after he disappeared.
Sgt Bergdahl, who is accused of endangering his comrades by abandoning his post, admitted wrongdoing but said he never meant to put anyone at risk.
"We're exhausted of Sgt. Bergdahl, who's a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed", Trump told a crowd in Las Vegas on a campaign stop in October 2015.
By admitting his guilt, Sgt Bergdahl, who chose to have his case heard by a judge rather than a jury, appears to be hoping for leniency.
Defense lawyers have said those injuries can not be directly tied to Sergeant Bergdahl.
Bergdahl's punishment will be determined after the judge holds a sentencing hearing, which is expected to start next week. The judge ruled that a Navy SEAL and an Army National Guard sergeant wouldn't have wound up in separate firefights that left them wounded if they hadn't been searching for Bergdahl.
In an interview recorded previous year and obtained by ABC News, Bergdahl explained that because of Trump's statements, he did not believe he would be able to receive a fair trial. The judge wrote in a February ruling that Trump's campaign-trail comments were "disturbing and disappointing" but did not constitute unlawful command influence by the soon-to-be commander in chief. That information was included in the hundreds of pages of documents that Bergdahl's defense team releases on a website called The Bergdahl Docket.
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