Thursday, 02 July, 2020


Defense to push for leniency for US Army deserter Bergdahl

Image Bowe Bergdahl Defense to push for leniency for US Army deserter Bergdahl
Bennie Garza | 01 November, 2017, 14:57

Terrence Russell of the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, the Pentagon agency charged with recovery of Department of Defense personnel, told the court that his group created the cage based on Bergdahl's accounts of his captivity.

The Army judge has wide leeway to decide Bergdahl's sentence because he didn't strike a plea agreement with prosecutors. It was his most extensive remarks in court yet.

His defense attorneys had asked Nance to agree to sentence Bergdahl to no prison time, arguing it was the only possible counterweight to the damage of Trump's unlawful command influence.

After walking away from his post, Bergdahl was held by Taliban allies for five years.

Witnesses called previously by prosecutors detailed the massive, high risk search efforts launched to find Bergdahl in the weeks after he disappeared, detailing severe injuries suffered by three servicemembers during those operations.

National Guard Master Sgt. Mark Allen was on a mission with other U.S and Afghan troops to gather information in two villages in July 2009 when they were ambushed by insurgents using small arms, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.

He gave an unsworn statement, meaning that the judge will consider it but Bergdahl won't be cross-examined by the prosecutors.

"Instead of being his wife, I'm his caregiver", she said. He also ruled that a reasonable member of the public would not have doubts about the fairness of military justice because of Trump's comments.

Bergdahl faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to charges that he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

Russell, who's debriefed more than 100 former hostages and prisoners of war, said Bergdahl's time in the cage was damaging psychologically because he was kept in isolation almost the entire time.

Shannon Allen has not given any recent press interviews, but those in the courtroom on the day Bergdahl pleaded guilty noticed how the case took a toll on her as she broke down sobbing in the courtroom.

"I am completely unaffected by any comments President Trump has made about Sergeant Bergdahl", Nance said.

Bergdahl took the stand Monday and apologized to the wounded.

Information provided by Bergdahl has been built into updated courses on search, evasion, rescue and escape tactics taught to servicemembers before they deploy, Russell said. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to speak, in need of a wheelchair and dependent on assistance for such everyday tasks as getting out of bed.

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