The Latest: Bergdahl judge starts deliberating on punishment
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on sentencing for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (all times local):
A military judge has begun deliberating the punishment for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
Army Col. Jeffery Nance said he planned to spend Thursday afternoon deliberating. He planned to open court again Friday and could continue deliberating then. He didn’t indicate when he would deliver the sentence.
Both sides gave closing arguments. Prosecutors again cited serious wounds to several service members who searched for Bergdahl. They recommended a prison sentence of 14 years and a punitive discharge.
Defense attorneys argued for leniency by citing Bergahl’s five years in Taliban captivity, harsh campaign-trail criticism by Donald Trump and his mental disorders. They asked for a dishonorable discharge but no confinement as Bergdahl’s sentence.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl faces closing arguments as soon as Thursday at his sentencing for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in Afghanistan.
The defense has rested its sentencing case after calling its final witness to discuss Bergdahl’s mental health. The prosecution could still call a rebuttal witness, but the judge told both sides to be ready to present closing arguments.
Bergdahl faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to the charges. The military judge has wide discretion on his punishment because Bergdahl didn’t strike a plea agreement with prosecutors.