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Deserter Bergdahl Gets off Scot Free, Won’t Serve Jail Time

Deserter Bergdahl Gets off Scot Free, Won’t Serve Jail Time

Presiding judge used Trump’s comments on the campaign trail as mitigation evidence

Bowe Bergdahl will serve no jail time for deserting his Afghanistan post in 2009 leaving other soldiers endangered, a military judge concluded Friday.

Bergdahl will instead be dishonorably discharged and required to surrender “pay equal to $1,000 per month for 10 months,” Politico reported.

Bergdahl appeared tense, grimaced and clenched his jaw. His attorneys put their arms around him and one patted him on the back.

Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and had faced up to life in prison. The judge had wide leeway because Bergdahl made no deal with prosecutors to limit his sentence.

Prosecutors had sought stiff punishment because of wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl after he disappeared in 2009.

Bergdahl requested a pardon from President Obama, but that request was denied.

After the request for pardon was denied and Trump took office, defense attorneys argued Bergdahl would not received a fair trial due to comments Trump had made criticizing Bergdahl prior to his election. The defense went so far as to request dismissal of the case. That too was denied.

But, the presiding judge said he would use Trump’s comments as mitigation evidence. The NYT reported:

“I will consider the president’s comments as mitigation evidence as I arrive at an appropriate sentence,” the judge, Col. Jeffery R. Nance of the Army, said during a hearing at Fort Bragg. The judge is expected to sentence Sergeant Bergdahl in the next few weeks.

The judge rejected a request that he dismiss the case or cap the length of the sentence on the grounds that the president’s comments had precluded a fair hearing. The judge said he had not been influenced by the remarks and that the public’s confidence in the military justice system had not been undermined.

“I’m admitting I made a horrible mistake,” the sergeant said on the witness stand. “It was never my intention for anyone to be hurt, and I never expected that to happen.”

As a candidate, Mr. Trump repeatedly called Sergeant Bergdahl a traitor and suggested that he should be executed or returned to the Taliban. On Oct. 16, Mr. Trump seemed to endorse those earlier sentiments, declining to say anything new about the case but adding, “I think people have heard my comments in the past.”

Trump’s comments on the campaign trail have been used by federal judges to put a halt to his immigration executive orders.

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Comments

So let me get this straight.

Liberals think Trump exerting ‘undue influence’ by making comments about Bergdahl is TERRIBLE because it could make him get a harsher sentence.

But they think a judge explicitly giving Bergdahl ZERO jail time to spite Trump is acceptable.

The judiciary as a whole is just a fucking joke.

    Casey in reply to Olinser. | November 7, 2017 at 1:50 am

    You might want to educate yourself on what Undue Command Influence is. Trumps remarks as a candidate are doubtful, but he doubled down after the election.

    Given that Trump is by law the Commander in Chief of all the armed forces, any comments he makes on any particular case have relevance. The armed forces place a very high emphasis on avoiding undue command influence in any case.

    If Teh Donald had just kept his flipping mouth shut, we might not have seen this absurd conclusion.

ugottabekiddinme | November 3, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Unbelievable. Disgraceful.

I wonder whether under military law the prosecution can request any appeal or review of the sentence from a higher authority in the system?

GeorgeCrosley | November 3, 2017 at 7:27 pm

The term is “scot-free,” not Scott free.

regulus arcturus | November 3, 2017 at 7:35 pm

I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Bergdahl is not ‘scot-free’, if you catch my meaning….

    This is like letting Lee Harvey Oswald out of jail.

    I think Bergdahl would be safer back in Afghanistan. Somebody is going to go Jack Ruby on his ass.

      tarheelkate in reply to MattMusson. | November 4, 2017 at 8:59 am

      I hope he will leave Fayetteville, NC, promptly, if he hasn’t already done so.

      pwaldoch in reply to MattMusson. | November 6, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      I’m more concerned about him actually going Oswald on us and doing something like the sh–stain in the Texas church this weekend. (Nov 5th)

      Did you stop taking your meds? You actually think letting this turd blossom off with no jail time is the same as setting the assassin of a president free!?

      After that you double down on stupid and advocate his lynching. You stay classy MattMusson.

Gee, it looks like the Judge was more influenced by Obama’s Rose Garden performance. Obama knew he was a deserter and lauded him. Is the judge saying that didn’t influence anyone’s opinion?

Wrong for so many reasons.

Just wrong.

Being harvard won’t be hiring traitor bradley manning to lecture, there’s a spot open for this deserter.

regulus arcturus | November 3, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Jeff Dahmer rings a bell here…..

I can only hope that a sniper(retired) will go after this asshole.

Men DIED, trying to rescue him.

Burn in HELL, Bergdahl…

    CincyJan in reply to Clinger. | November 4, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Bergdahl damaged himself & his comrades in arms, but IMO the judge damaged the Army. As a civilian seeing this, it’s hard for me to have any respect for the institution that could allow this. What a joke!

    Arminius in reply to Clinger. | November 4, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    He will. Should that be his destiny.

I predict a spike in military retirements and ETS separations…

Someone in the Judge Advocate General’s office needs to give Colonel Jeffery Nance, the soi disant ‘judge’, a refresher course in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, specifically Article 85, 119, and 134. Bergdahl is guilty of desertion and involuntary of manslaughter, as another soldier died as a direct result of his desertion.

Since we were not involved in a “declared war” Bergdahl was not eligible for the death penalty, but he was eligible for life in prison. Zero prison time and a forfeiture of pay is not an equitable outcome for his actions.

    Milhouse in reply to Walker Evans. | November 4, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Since we were not involved in a “declared war” Bergdahl was not eligible for the death penalty,

    Not true.

    1. This is a declaration of war. A declaration needn’t contain some magic formula such as “we declare war”.

    2. There is no legal difference between a declared war and an undeclared one. It has been established law since the 1790s that no declaration is needed for a state of war to exist. On the evening of 11-Sep-2001 the president recognized that the USA was already at war, and that determination is what counts. The subsequent declaration was legally unnecessary for this purpose (it was necessary for other purposes).

Infuriating on so many levels!

1. The judge needs to be dealt with.
2. The deaths of the 6 soldiers searching for the deserter should have been reason enough to imprison him for life.
3. The Judge SHOULD have recused himself from hearing the case because he has allowed his hatred of Trump to bias and colour his judgement.
4. Liberals will cheer this as yet another example of resistance!

This fucks me off no end!

    Milhouse in reply to mailman. | November 4, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    The Judge SHOULD have recused himself from hearing the case because he has allowed his hatred of Trump to bias and colour his judgement.

    And your evidence for this is?

5 years from now, Bergdahl walking down the street, gets a tap on the shoulder.

By denying Justice, this judge has doomed Bergdahl to extra-legal punishment.

There was all kinds of politics involved in decisions about what to do with Bergdahl. Starting with the the type of court martial. The original recommendation was that he be awarded a special, not general court martial, which could not have imposed a Dishonorable Discharge. General Robert Abrams rejected that recommendation in December 2015 and ordered a general court martial- scheduled more than a year later in February 2017. I’ve been around for a while- and that’s an abnormally long time. Why such a wait? Because, obviously, there would be a change of command of the C-in-C in January 2017. I have no doubt the entire timeline was strung out to ensure trial wouldn’t be conducted until after Obama left office. And also have no doubt there’s absolutely nothing written down anywhere or recorded that can prove that.

To say that both active duty, retired military, and veterans with honorable discharges are a little upset with the final outcome would be a massive understatement. There is no doubt the judge was influenced by the commander-in-chief, the ex-commander-in-chief. Who held Bergdahl up as a hero.

Maybe there’s a Patriot out there who can send a message to this “judge.”

Guilty as sin. Free as a bird. Hmm. Who said that

Having this deserter’s pic shown is all well and good, but what conservatives need to do is show pics of the judge. Maybe show some pics of his wife and him on vacation or at their country club. The public needs to know as much about the judge as it knows about the traitor. These progressive idiots need to be bathed in the sunlight of truth for all of America to see. They should not be protected; they should be ridiculed publicly and made to pay for their misdeeds.

As an Army vet (did not serve in a combat theatre), I am disgusted. Several soldiers were killed trying to find this guy and several others badly wounded. And this guy walks?

Does anything matter anymore?

    Arminius in reply to garyfouse. | November 9, 2017 at 1:26 am

    As a Navy vet, I’m disgusted. I know you Army types look at us as posers. And I am conscious of the fact you sometimes serve under more difficult circumstances.

    But I can’t forget about the Men of the USS Stark, who died screaming as the Iraqi Exocets incinerated them. You see it was fired at short range. That means, lots of fuel left. To burn.

    All the Gallant Men

    pps 184-186

    “…Before we headed out to battle in the Pacific Theater, we sailed into Pearl Harbor, stopping to refuel and ressupply. As you can imagine, I had mixed feelings about returning there, unsure how it would hit me. Most on the ship knew I had served on the Arizona, They had seen my scars, asked about my experiences.

    As we made our way slowly into the harbor, we passed the Arizona. I had not seen it since the morning of the attack. I could not believe my eyes. All the superstructure had been cut away. – for scrap no doubt. Where once a great ship was moored, there remained only its ghostly visage, hovering eeriliy beneath the water’s surface

    Every emotion within me started rising, quietly pooling in my eyes.

    Then something happened I wasn’t expecting, and I certainly wasn’t prepared for. A call came over the public address system, mustering all hands to the fantail. When everyone was there the captain called out, “Is Stratton here?”

    I raised my hand, “Here, sir.”

    He waived me over. Then without fanfare of any kind he presented me with a medal. The Purple Heart. The entire crew applauded. The Captain didn’t give a speech, and he didn’t ask me to give one. He just handed me the medal and that was it – a simple gesture of respect and reccognition.

    I was relieved. I hadn’t been asked to speak – if I had opened my mouth , I doubt I would have been able to control my emotions. Even so, it was an extremely difficult moment for me. It would take me years to find my voice where the Arizona was concerned, but that display of unity and honor shown by my shipmates on the Stack as we glided past the remains of the Arizona was a moment of healing, any hospital treatment had been. Though I may have left Pearl Harbor on a stretcher, I had returned on a destroyer. I had recovered my strength, as had my country. I WAS READY TO MEET WHAT WAS COMING – AND I WAS BRINGING A BOATLOD OF REINFORCEMENTS WITH ME…”

    It doesn’t matter what service, Bergdahl betrayed us all.

    And no, never in combat. But I tried. Ask me about my brush with greatness.

Anything to protect Obama after the Taliban 5 trade. Pathetic, this judge must be an Obama supporter, thus absent of ethics.

It couldn’t have really been any worse…

Hoping he gets his deserved punishment and then rots in hell for eternity

Bergdahl should not have received a discharge. He should have been transferred to Delta Force. Case closed.

JackRussellTerrierist | November 3, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Good idea. In Afghanistan, he could meet Allah in person.

The stink of that traitor obama lingers on.

Thank God for Donald Trump.

It can get worse. I read that his lawyers can appeal to the VA to get his VA benefits restored, We know how that will go.

The new hotness in lefty legal theory; ‘he hurt my feelz and is guilty of wrong think, therefore the law doesn’t apply.’

Well, all he did was desert his unit in a combat zone. It’s not like he did anything serious like use a wrong pronoun or something.

All that I can figure is that prior to the POS pleading guilty, he and his attorney entered into a plea bargain agreement where he was to get the DD, RIR and fine. The judge then simply formalized the sentence already agreed upon. Stinks to high heavens but he has to live with the knowledge that he caused harm to his fellow soldiers.

The judge let Trump influence his decision. Letting him off is just as unjust as giving a harsher sentence because of Trumps’ comments.

Where do these judges, military and civilian, get a law degree. You can’t use the President giving an opinion on a defendant as a MITIGATING circumstance in order to reduce a sentence. You MIGHT be able to use it to gain a new trial, on appeal, IF you can show that it actually influenced the court. Which can not be done in this case.

This case was largely cut and dried. Bergdahl deserted his post, in a conflict zone. This is not simply being AWOL or missing a movement, it is DESERTION in the face of the enemy. And, Bergdahl pled guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. And, no formal deal was made to limit the penalty imposed for that plea. Everyone goes to prison for this offense, almost without exception. The minimum should have been seven years up to and including life. 15 years would have been acceptable.

This was all political. Commanding officers, including commanding generals are extremely political. Obama dropped this hot potato in their laps years ago, when he held a deserter out as being a hero. All that they wanted was for it to quietly go away. That did not happen. They were forced to deal with it. And, they dealt with it by postponing any final action on the case until Obama was out of office. And, rather than sentence the deserter as he would normally be sentenced and have to deal with an appeal, they handed out a sweetheart sentence and blamed it on the President’s remarks.

Now, let’s see what kind of changes the reaction of the American people have in this case. so far, the FBI and DOJ have approval rating slightly higher than used car salesmen. The federal courts are even lower.And now the military, which has enjoyed a really good approval rating slaps millions of servicemen and women, active and former active,in the face and alienates the segment of the population which is already upset with the NFL for doing the same thing. Gotta love it when a well thought-out plan comes together [*sarcasm*]

Can the judge be disciplined for failure to punish this traitor?

    Unfortunately, he can only be disciplined if it can be proven that he violated military regulations in some way. However, I wouldn’t give an expended 5.56 brass for his chances of ever making General.

    Milhouse in reply to ConradCA. | November 4, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    No, of course not. Think what that would do to judicial independence. The judge’s commander in chief opening his stupid mouth was bad enough, but could be dealt with. But if it were possible to discipline military judges for sentences their commanders didn’t like then every sentence ever imposed by a court martial would automatically become invalid. Courts martial could not function.

      ConradCA in reply to Milhouse. | November 7, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Remember how the stupid Tyrant Obama the Liar opened his mouth praising this traitor? After that Bergdahl should have been given the death penalty.

        Milhouse in reply to ConradCA. | November 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm

        So you would increase a criminal’s sentence because of someone else’s speech (or even act)?! That’s disgusting. It’s not due process, and it’s thoroughly un-American. Far worse than what 0bama said.

I understand that Trump’s recent comments are a problem, but if I understand correctly the judge referred to the comments Trump made before he was his commander in chief. I don’t see how those could possibly be relevant, or why they should affect the sentence.

    Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | November 5, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Military judges are sensitive to idea that they or their juries are subject to what can be termed undo command influence. Excessively so, in my opinion. Like I’m going to change my vote should I be picked for a jury while DJT or BHO or GWB or WJC is preezy.

    Really? Is some off-hand comment REALLY a command? And how is the preezy going to know? Like it’s going to effect my career.

    But that’s the thinking. I don’t agree with it, and so Bergdahl walks. And I want to puke.

      Mac45 in reply to Arminius. | November 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Undo command influence might be a problem if one were going to sentence Bergdahl to a longer sentence than is usual. In that case, the jurist would most likely render a sentence in line with the usual sentence rendered. In the case of the charges which Bergdahl pled guilty to, that would be approximately 15 years. Now, if the judge wished to give Bergdahl credit for time served for the five years that he was in captivity, this would reduce the sentence to 1o years, and he could probably have reduced it to 7 years, with no complaints heard. But, he essentially issued a sentence which is largely reserved for convenience separations; reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and dishonorable discharge. It was all done as a convenience to the service, to forestall an appeal that prison time was unfairly imposed due to remarks made by the President. Bergdahl is an embarrassment to the military and they just wanted to get rid of him.

      Milhouse in reply to Arminius. | November 5, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      If your commanding officer has expressed his wishes, that has to affect you. Your career is in his hands, after all. And yet if you let it prejudice the defendant’s right to due process the sentence you pronounce is invalid. So you have to bend over backwards to be sure you weren’t too harsh on him. That’s why Trump should have kept his stupid mouth shut about the case once he was commander in chief.

      What I don’t get is why the judge took into account his comments from last year. Those shouldn’t be relevant.

        Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | November 9, 2017 at 1:39 am

        You don’t know me, do you, Milhouse? And I honestly mean no disrespect. But here’s the thing. If I’m going to sign up to sell my life for a dollar a day, I think that ought to include lesser prices. Like my career.

        My commanding officer can pack sand. And you know what? Say what you want about the Navy’s promotion system, but I never worked for a commanding officer that didn’t know that.

    Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | November 5, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I’m sure you already knew this.

    Casey in reply to Milhouse. | November 7, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Alas, Trump doubled down after the election. Those comments are what the judge had in mind…

I will hold out the hope, Milhouse.

The headline still says he’s getting off scot-free, which is not true. It needs correcting. He’s getting off astonishingly lightly, shockingly lightly, but unless this is reversed on appeal he will be paying a scot.

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