How Trump's Comments Influenced The Bergdahl Trial

Nov 3, 2017

Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl will serve no time in prison after pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The Army solider walked away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held by a group connected to the Taliban.

Bergdahl appeared visibly shaken in court as the military judge decided against any prison time for the soldier. But the Hailey native was ordered to forfeit $1,000 of his pay for the next 10 months, and the judge says he should be dishonorably discharged. If he’s dishonorably discharged, he won’t be able to access medical benefits from the Veterans Administration.

Former Marine Judge Advocate James Weirick says although the defense was unable to get the case dismissed, it turns out that President Trump’s comments about Bergdahl ended up influencing the sentencing – but not in the way Trump wanted.

 

"Part of the underlying rationale for no actual jail time, that was contributed to by the president's statements," Weirick says.

 

According to Weirick, the president’s recent reference to calling Bergdahl a “dirty rotten traitor” led to a lighter sentence.

He says the soldier will first go through medical evaluations, but could be out of the military and back to civilian life within 90 days. The soldier has been serving the Army in Texas since his return to the U.S. in 2014.

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