No punitive discharge, either
Earlier this year, we covered the charges that Bowe Bergdahl faced; these included desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He was facing a possible dishonorable discharge and life in prison. Amy wrote at the time:
Last year, the United States released 5 high-profile al Qaeda commandos from the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities in exchange for the release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl was captured by militants after he allegedly deserted his base in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan. The exchange embroiled the Obama Administration in scandal—why did we trade dangerous prisoners for the freedom of a deserter?—and the public quickly began to demand answers about what consequences should and would rain down on Bergdahl’s head.
You may recall the outrageous pomp and circumstance with which Obama shared the news of this swap with the American people (despite knowing at the time, as General McChrystal later revealed, that Bergdahl was a deserter):
Even after it was revealed that Bergdahl was a deserter (at best), Obama continued to defend his decision to trade five top Taliban leaders for him, saying “we leave no soldier behind.”
In light of Obama’s failed attempt to curry public favor and present Bergdahl’s homecoming as that of a hero, it may not be surprising that reports are now being released that the military officer in charge of Bergdahl’s hearing has recommended he not receive any jail time at all nor a punitive discharge.
The U.S. military officer in charge of last month’s hearing for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has recommended he not do any jail time, Bergdahl’s legal team says.
In a memorandum dated Friday, the legal team said it agreed with Lt. Col. Mark Visger’s conclusion that their client be referred to a special court-martial and receive neither jail time nor a punitive discharge.
The recommendation, which hasn’t been announced publicly by the U.S. military, is a significant development for Bergdahl, who in March was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
But Visger’s recommendation isn’t “the final say,” according to CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos.
“The case still has to go up to command where another decision will be made whether to accept that recommendation,” he said.
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