Army officer recommends no jail time for Sgt. Bergdahl
HOUSTON (AP) — An Army officer is recommending that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a lower-level court martial and be spared the possibility of jail time for leaving his post in Afghanistan.
Defense attorneys say Lt. Col. Mark Visger has decided Bergdahl’s case should go to a military system similar to civilian courts that handle misdemeanor charges. It limits punishment to reduction of rank, a bad conduct discharge and a short jail term, though that isn’t being sought.
Military prosecutors charged Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, a charge that could carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban after leaving his post in 2009 and held until last year, when he was exchanged for five Taliban commanders. Officers say a 45-day search put soldiers in danger.
This story has been corrected to delete reference to case being handled by a civilian system.