Lawyer: Officer recommends no jail for Bergdahl

Lawyer: Officer recommends no jail for Bergdahl
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The officer in charge of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s hearing will recommend the former prisoner of war accused of desertion and misconduct before the enemy receive no jail time, the defendant’s lawyers told the Army Times on Saturday.

The lawyers say Lt. Col. Mark Visger’s report to Gen. Robert Abrams, the head of Army Forces Command and who is in charge of the Bergdahl case, will also recommend Bergdahl face no punitive discharge for his alleged actions in Afghanistan.

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Visger reportedly will advise Bergdahl’s case be decided in a special court-martial, which allows a maximum one-year jail sentence for convictions.

Bergdahl’s legal defense said the report did not go far enough and sent a memo to Visger arguing their client face non-judicial punishment known as an Article 15, rather than a special court-martial.

Bergdahl’s Article 32 hearing was concluded on Sept. 18. He faces one count of desertion and one charge of misbehavior before the enemy, which could carry a life sentence in prison.

Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, who investigated Bergdahl’s 2009 capture by the Taliban, testified in the hearing that the soldier should not face imprisonment. Bergdahl was held for nearly five years, and attempts to rescue him proved costly.

Bergdahl’s lead counsel, Eugene Fidell, said the facts of the case should be made public.

“They should be releasing Col. Visger’s report, they should be releasing Gen. Dahl’s report, they should be releasing Sgt. Bergdahl’s 3710 page transcript of his interrogation by Gen. Dahl, I mean, all of this stuff should be released,” Fidell told the Army Times.

“Let people make up their own minds instead of having this all behind a curtain,” he added.