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US Army deserter Bergdahl faces life in prison as sentencing hearing opens

October 23,2017 14:13

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Reuters) - Sentencing proceedings start on Monday to determine the fate of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who could face life in prison after pleading guilty to deserting his duties in Afghanistan in June 2009 and endangering the ...


FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Reuters) - The sentencing hearing for U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who could go to prison for life for deserting his duties in Afghanistan in June 2009 and endangering the lives of fellow troops, was postponed on Monday for two days due to an emergency for a lawyer in the case.

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (R) is escorted as he arrives at the courthouse for the start of sentencing proceedings in his court martial at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, U.S., October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
The proceedings at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg will resume on Wednesday, Army Judge Colonel Jeffery Nance said in court.
The hearing is expected to include testimony from soldiers injured in the dangerous search for Bergdahl, who walked off his combat outpost in Paktika province to report what he said were “critical problems” in his chain of command.
The 31-year-old Idaho native was quickly captured by the Taliban and spent the next five years suffering torture, abuse and neglect in captivity. A Taliban prisoner swap that won his release in 2014, organized by the administration of then-Democratic President Barack Obama, was criticized by people in the military and by Republicans.
During last year’s presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump called Bergdahl “a no-good traitor who should have been executed.”
Bergdahl pleaded guilty on Oct. 16 to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, with the latter offense carrying a possible life sentence. He entered a “naked plea,” meaning he does not have an agreement about the sentencing terms with prosecutors.

Additional reporting by Chris Kenning and Jim Forsyth; Writing by Chris Kenning and Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Peter Cooney and Frances Kerry

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