Bergdahl pleads guilty to desertion, misbehavior - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bergdahl pleads guilty to desertion, misbehavior

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON -

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on the court-martial of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his post in Afghanistan (all times local):

10:20 a.m.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told a military judge he's pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

His lawyer says the prosecution and defense have not agreed to a stipulation of facts in the case, which is an indication that they did not reach a deal to limit his punishment.

Bergdahl is charged with endangering his comrades by walking away from a remote post in Afghanistan in 2009.

He told the judge that he now understands that what he did caused others to search for him.

___

3 a.m.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is expected to plead guilty Monday to charges that he endangered comrades by walking away from a remote post in Afghanistan in 2009.

The U.S. Army said Bergdahl asked to enter his plea before the military judge at Fort Bragg. The Associated Press previously reported that he's expected to plead guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

It's not clear if Bergdahl, 31, has a deal with prosecutors to limit his punishment, or if he's simply pleading guilty in hopes of leniency from the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance. The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years.

Guilty pleas would bring the highly politicized saga closer to an end eight years after Bergdahl's disappearance in Afghanistan set off search missions by scores of his fellow service members. President Barack Obama was criticized by Republicans for the 2014 Taliban prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl home, while President Donald Trump harshly criticized Bergdahl on the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl are expected to play a role in his sentencing. While guilty pleas would allow him to avoid a trial, he'd still face a sentencing hearing in late October. Bergdahl's five years of captivity by the Taliban and its allies also will likely play a role in what punishment he receives.

Bergdahl's lawyers are expected to reveal in court Monday whether there's a plea agreement in place to cap his punishment, or if he's pleading guilty without such a deal in what's known colloquially as a "naked plea." In either scenario, his punishment won't be known until after the judge holds the sentencing hearing that's expected to start on Oct. 23. Bergdahl, who's from Hailey, Idaho, previously chose to have his case heard by a judge alone, rather than a jury.

Legal scholars have said that several pretrial rulings against the defense have given prosecutors leverage to pursue stiff punishment against Bergdahl. Perhaps most significant was the judge's decision in June to allow evidence of serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl at the sentencing phase. The judge ruled that a Navy SEAL and an Army National Guard sergeant wouldn't have wound up in separate firefights that left them wounded if they hadn't been searching for Bergdahl.

The defense also was rebuffed in an effort to prove President Donald Trump had unfairly swayed the case with scathing criticism of Bergdahl, including suggestions of harsh punishment. The judge wrote in a February ruling that Trump's campaign-trail comments were "disturbing and disappointing" but did not constitute unlawful command influence by the soon-to-be commander in chief.

Defense attorneys have acknowledged that Bergdahl walked off his base without authorization. Bergdahl himself told a general during a preliminary investigation that he left intending to cause alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit. He was soon captured.

But the defense team has argued that Bergdahl can't be held responsible for a long chain of events that included many decisions by others on how to conduct the searches.

The military probe of Bergdahl began soon after he was freed from captivity on May 31, 2014, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners. Facing Republican criticism, Obama noted that the U.S. doesn't leave its service members behind.

Bergdahl has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base while his case unfolds.

___

Follow Drew at www.twitter.com/jonldrew

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Coeur d'Alene man accused of giving child STD

    Coeur d'Alene man accused of giving child STD

    Tuesday, November 20 2018 10:07 PM EST2018-11-21 03:07:56 GMT

    A Coeur d’Alene man is accused of giving his fiancé’s five-year old daughter a sexually transmitted disease. Corey McGrath was arraigned in Kootenai County District Court Tuesday on charges of lewd conduct with a minor. 

    >>

    A Coeur d’Alene man is accused of giving his fiancé’s five-year old daughter a sexually transmitted disease. Corey McGrath was arraigned in Kootenai County District Court Tuesday on charges of lewd conduct with a minor. 

    >>
  • One man dead, one woman seriously injured in northeast Spokane shooting; Suspect in custody

    One man dead, one woman seriously injured in northeast Spokane shooting; Suspect in custody

    Wednesday, November 21 2018 11:59 AM EST2018-11-21 16:59:42 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - UPDATE: Spokane Police say Donavan Gibson is now in custody. Gibson is listed on the Spokane County Jail inmate roster under charges of 1st Degree Murder and 1st Degree Attempted Murder.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - UPDATE: Spokane Police say Donavan Gibson is now in custody. Gibson is listed on the Spokane County Jail inmate roster under charges of 1st Degree Murder and 1st Degree Attempted Murder.

    >>
  • Man pleads guilty, sentenced to two years in Airway Heights baseball-bat beating death

    Man pleads guilty, sentenced to two years in Airway Heights baseball-bat beating death

    Wednesday, November 21 2018 1:10 AM EST2018-11-21 06:10:35 GMT
    Brandon Pierce (Top) and Christian Palmer (Bottom)Brandon Pierce (Top) and Christian Palmer (Bottom)
    Brandon Pierce (Top) and Christian Palmer (Bottom)Brandon Pierce (Top) and Christian Palmer (Bottom)

    A man convicted in the 2017 baseball-bat beating death of a man in Airway Heights has been sentenced to two years in state prison. 

    >>

    A man convicted in the 2017 baseball-bat beating death of a man in Airway Heights has been sentenced to two years in state prison. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Roberts criticizes Trump for "Obama judge" asylum comment

    Roberts criticizes Trump for "Obama judge" asylum comment

    Wednesday, November 21 2018 12:51 PM EST2018-11-21 17:51:23 GMT

    WASHINGTON - Chief Justice John Roberts is pushing back against President Donald Trump's description of a judge who ruled against Trump's new migrant asylum policy as an "Obama judge." It's the first time that the leader of the federal judiciary has offered even a hint of criticism of Trump, who has previously blasted federal judges who ruled against him.    

    >>

    WASHINGTON - Chief Justice John Roberts is pushing back against President Donald Trump's description of a judge who ruled against Trump's new migrant asylum policy as an "Obama judge." It's the first time that the leader of the federal judiciary has offered even a hint of criticism of Trump, who has previously blasted federal judges who ruled against him.    

    >>
  • US mortgage rates fall: 30-year at 4.81 percent

    US mortgage rates fall: 30-year at 4.81 percent

    Wednesday, November 21 2018 12:17 PM EST2018-11-21 17:17:59 GMT

    U.S. long-term mortgage rates recorded the biggest drop in nearly four years this week, but remain much higher than they were a year ago.    Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.81 percent this week, down from 4.94 percent a week earlier. It was the biggest weekly drop since January 2015. But the 30-year rate was still up from 3.92 percent a year ago.   

    >>

    U.S. long-term mortgage rates recorded the biggest drop in nearly four years this week, but remain much higher than they were a year ago.    Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.81 percent this week, down from 4.94 percent a week earlier. It was the biggest weekly drop since January 2015. But the 30-year rate was still up from 3.92 percent a year ago.   

    >>
  • Boise Police say officer was intentionally hit by car during traffic stop; Suspect on the loose

    Boise Police say officer was intentionally hit by car during traffic stop; Suspect on the loose

    Wednesday, November 21 2018 12:08 PM EST2018-11-21 17:08:25 GMT

    BOISE - A Boise Police officer was intentionally hit by a driver early Wednesday morning, according to the department.  The officer pulled the car over at around 4:00 am. During the stop, police say the driver intentional hit the officer and then drove away.  The suspect is still on the loose.  The officer was rushed to the hospital for treatment. His injuries are not considered life-threatening. 

    >>

    BOISE - A Boise Police officer was intentionally hit by a driver early Wednesday morning, according to the department.  The officer pulled the car over at around 4:00 am. During the stop, police say the driver intentional hit the officer and then drove away.  The suspect is still on the loose.  The officer was rushed to the hospital for treatment. His injuries are not considered life-threatening. 

    >>