U.S. Army

Army Official Recommends No Jail Time For Bergdahl

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is being charged with desertion, but the officer reviewing his case says those charges shouldn't lead to jail time.

By Matt Picht | October 10, 2015

Since being freed from Taliban captivity, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been facing serious charges. 

But it's looking increasingly likely the Army is going to be lenient with Bergdahl; the Army officer in charge of reviewing his case has apparently recommended no jail time or punitive discharges for Bergdahl.

Bergdahl's capture by the Taliban after he left his post in 2009 led to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy; the latter charge could result in life imprisonment as well as a dishonorable discharge without pay or benefits.

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But Bergdahl's lawyers say Lt. Col. Mark Visger, who oversaw Bergdahl's preliminary hearing, wants Bergdahl to be punished under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That title authorizes a range of less severe "non-judicial punishments," including pay stops, extra duties and demotion. 

The lighter sentence could indicate some sympathy for the defense's argument that Bergdahl shouldn't be denied military health benefits. His lawyers say that health care is essential for Bergdahl to fully recover from the five years of captivity and torture he suffered at the hands of the Taliban. (Video via U.S. Army)

Bergdahl's ultimate fate now rests with General Robert Abrams, who will decide whether Bergdahl's case should move to a normal court martial, or be handled in a less severe manner. 

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

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