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Bowe Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl got a dishonorable discharge and no jail time

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A military judge ruled Friday that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will receive a dishonorable discharge for abandoning his outpost in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl received no prison time for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, however, for his actions in 2009.

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Bergdahl pleaded guilty last month to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after leaving his post eight years ago.

The Army soldier was held captive by the Taliban for five years, and his release was secured in 2014 in a controversial swap involving five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Bergdahl originally faced the possibility of life in prison, but prosecutors asked the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, for a 14-year-sentence instead.

The soldier had previously chosen to be tried by a military judge rather than a jury, and his attorneys had requested he receive a dishonorable discharge for his behavior.

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Prosecutors had sought a stiff penalty for Bergdahl due to wounds inflicted upon service members who went searching for him after his disappearance in 2009.

Defenders countered that Bergdahl had already suffered enough during half a decade in captivity with the Taliban.

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One of Bergdahl’s defense attorneys, Capt. Nina Banks, said it would not be justice rescuing Bergdahl from the Taliban “only to place him in a cell” now.

Former President Barack Obama orchestrated Bergdahl’s return in 2014 by trading him for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Obama maintained at the time that the U.S. does not abandon its service members, but Republicans were fiercely critical of the move.

President Trump repeatedly characterized Bergdahl as a traitor deserving of severe punishment during his 2016 election campaign.

Bergdahl, 31, is from Hailey, Idaho and will not receive most or all of his military veterans’ benefits due to his dishonorable discharge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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