Bergdahl Judge Weighed Complex Leniency Factors

Legal experts say Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's brutal captivity by Taliban allies carried significant weight in a judge's decision to spare him prison time for leaving his post in Afghanistan.

Posted: Nov. 4, 2017 9:48 AM
Updated: Nov. 4, 2017 9:48 AM

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - Legal experts say Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's brutal captivity by Taliban allies carried significant weight in a judge's decision to spare him prison time for leaving his post in Afghanistan.

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Criticism by President Donald Trump also appeared to push the judge toward leniency.

Army Col. Jeffery Nance didn't explain how he formulated his sentence that also included a dishonorable discharge. But the judge had to consider complex arguments for and against leniency. Prosecutors unsuccessfully fought for a prison sentence. They cited soldiers who were injured when they searched for Bergdahl. But the defense argued that Bergdahl had suffered enough.

He spent five years as a captive of the Taliban and also suffered from mental illnesses. Former Army lawyer Eric Carpenter says an unusual amount of factors were in Bergdahl's favor.

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