Military Judge Rules No Prison Time for Bergdahl


by Sharon Rondeau

(Nov. 3, 2017) — Various mainstream media sources reported on Friday that Judge Col. Jeffery Nance has recommended a sentence for Sgt. Robert B. (Bowe) Bergdahl of dishonorable discharge from the Army, forfeiture of ten months’ pay and a reduction in his rank to “private” following his October 16 guilty plea to charges of misbehavior before the enemy and desertion.

As with all prior hearings in the case, today’s sentencing hearing took place at Fort Bragg, NC.

On June 30, 2009, Bergdahl left his post in Paktika Province, Afghanistan after sending personal belongings back to his parents’ home and indicating that he was considering deserting, according to a 2012 article in Rolling Stone by the late Michael Hastings.  He was reportedly captured by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-related terror group, and held for five years until Barack Obama secretly negotiated his freedom in exchange for the release of five hardened Islamic terrorists held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a result of the “war on terror.”

Prior to the commencement of his sentencing hearings on October 23, Bergdahl said that the Taliban had been more “honest” with him than the U.S. Army during the time he remained on active duty awaiting the court-martial proceedings which led to Friday’s sentencing.

President Trump, who is also the current commander-in-chief of the military, reacted to the news on Twitter by declaring, “The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.”

Trump was en route to Hawaii on Friday as an initial stop in his ten-day trip to Asia and reportedly issued his tweet from Air Force One.

Bergdahl’s defense attorney, Eugene Fidell, condemned Trump’s description of his client as a “traitor” deserving of execution issued on the campaign trail, stating that Trump’s remarks “cast a dark cloud over the case.”  Fidell has appealed Nance’s ruling to ask for a dismissal of the charges.

Three soldiers who were permanently injured while participating in search missions for Bergdahl after his disappearance received thanks from Fidell during Friday’s hearing, according to Fox News.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 14 years in prison for the 31-year-old Idaho native.

Gen. Robert B. Abrams will review Nance’s ruling and could issue a lighter, but not more stringent, sentence, according to Rolling Stone.


23 Responses to "Military Judge Rules No Prison Time for Bergdahl"

  1. Bob Merkin   Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 10:48 PM

    James Carter — hahhaaha I was in Mexico with an Army vet pal and Mexicans kept asking us what this crazy Watergate stuff was all about. My pal was from Massachusetts, I was from Washington DC — the only two states / election district that voted against Nixon. If Trump doesn’t just kick the Afghan/Iraq can down the road, betcha he announces “Peace with Honor” when he withdraws from Afghanistan.

  2. Bob Merkin   Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 5:26 PM

    thinkwell, the decision by civilian politicians in the White House and Congress (which the constitution designates with the sole responsibility to declare war) to carry on long or never-ending pre-lost wars like my Vietnam or Afghanistan (which has never been effectively conquered since Alexander the Great, though every historical superpower has tried) generates — unintentionally, one of those messy collateral consequences — the needless deaths of properly serving soldiers, desertions, alcoholism, drug addiction, psychiatric illnesses, a startling increase in suicides. When George W. and now Trump said Let’s conquer Iraq and Afghanistan, they knew all this crap would happen to our own troops, to innocent civilians, and then to our homeland when our vets came home to the tender mercies if the VA/DVA health system. You lay these deaths on Bowie Bergdahl, It’s clear they were committed by Someone Else or a Group of Someone Elses.

  3. T.F. BOW   Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 10:44 AM

    The Senate passed a laudatory non-binding resolution with respect to McCain as a favor to one of its own; there was no “investigation.” The House of Representatives similarly passed a resolution stating Hawaii was Obama’s birthplace.

    Lakin was free to present whatever relevant evidence he wanted. The judge had simply ruled that Obama’s eligibility wasn’t relevant to the chargers against him, that is, Lakin’s disobeying orders. If Lakin thought the judge erred in making that ruling, Lakin could and should have appealed that decision. Instead, Lakin pleaded guilty and waived his appeal.

  4. James Carter   Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 8:51 AM

    If the Senate sub-committee didn’t ask McCain for any evidence that he was eligible to serve as president then I guess they simply stuck their collective fingers in the air and said: “Yup, he’s eligible.” If it was that easy for them to confirm McCain’s eligibility then they should have done the same for Obama because his eligibility was also being questioned, but they didn’t. Hmmm…

    Lt Col Lakin was railroaded, and every intellectually honest person knows it During the two pre-trail hearing the Courts Martial Judge stated at their outset that Obama was the legal president and, therefore, no evidence possibly countermanding that was not allowed. The result was that during those two pre-trial hearings and the trial itself Lakin was not allowed to present anything in his defense…no documentation, no depositions, no evidence, no witnesses…literally no defense whatsoever…so his defense attorney simply rested his case. THAT was a crime.

  5. ZebBlanchard   Monday, November 6, 2017 at 7:59 PM

    “Huff’s appeal, however, was most definitely acted upon”
    My mistake. I had meant to say while it mattered. Huff was released in April, a few weeks after the
    appeal was finally acted on, which was years after it was filed.
    T F Bow need to peddle his detritus elsewhere.

  6. Mark Bellison   Monday, November 6, 2017 at 2:46 PM

    “Note that he did that AFTER a Senate sub-committee (which Included Obama) demanded that McCain provide it with documentation verifying his eligibility but did not do likewise to Obama.”

    This is an internet rumor which is not true. No one in Congress ever demanded McCain provide his birth certificate or prove he was eligible.

  7. T.F. BOW   Monday, November 6, 2017 at 2:37 PM

    James Carter is free, of course, to believe whatever he desires, but Lakin’s honorable served ended when he disobeyed orders, which is a crime, and Lakin pleaded guilty to that crime.

    Similarly, no Senate subcommittee (or any other entity) ever required McCain to prove his eligibility; no documents were ever sought from him by anyone.

  8. James Carter   Monday, November 6, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    “Throughout my honorable service, I did whatever I was lawfully permitted to do (starting with my vote) to protest and try to end the American military part of the Vietnam War.”

    So you voted for “Peace With Honor” Nixon, correct?

    “I note other cases brought up in these comments the charges against serving military who refused orders based on the fantasy that President Obama was not an American citizen. (The most famous advocate of this fantasy was today’s Draft-Dodger-in-Chief.)”

    Your intellectual dishonesty is on fine display with that one.

    Lt. Col. Terrance Lakin also served honorably, and very distinguishably, throughout his service — Army Flight Surgeon’s Badge, Combat Medical Badge, the Bronze Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Armed Forced Expedition Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the NATO service medal — and also did what he was lawfully permitted to do (starting with formally asking everyone up his chain of command, including his Commander In Chief Obama, to verify Obama’s eligibility to serve as POTUS) to ascertain the legality of being ordered to bring a certified copy of his birth certificate with him to his embarkation station. Note that he did that AFTER a Senate sub-committee (which Included Obama) demanded that McCain provide it with documentation verifying his eligibility but did not do likewise to Obama.

  9. thinkwell   Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 10:51 PM

    Bob Merkin, you did not answer the question. How do you justify that Bergdahl’s cowardly desertion directly lead to the deaths of six of his fellow soldiers? (They were killed while desperately trying to rescue him thinking that he had been captured against his will.)

    Bergdahl’s willful actions directly lead to the deaths of six of his comrades in arms. Six of his closest compatriots died as died as a direct result of his premeditated, deliberate cowardly desertion and abdication of his solemn duties. Why shouldn’t his life be forfeit in return?

  10. Bob Merkin   Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 4:57 PM

    It is not the place of a North Korean or Russian soldier to question why he or she has been placed in harm’s way. But I was an American soldier, and although on taking the oath I understood I was surrendering a huge volume of my American civilian rights, I never for a moment agreed to surrender all my American rights. Throughout my honorable service, I did whatever I was lawfully permitted to do (starting with my vote) to protest and try to end the American military part of the Vietnam War. At last count, about 58,000 American military men and women (including a few of my high school pals) died in the Vietnam War. (The USA lost.)

    Some one had blunder’d:
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    — “The Charge of the Light Brigade”
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    I love the way these heated debates throw around the words “treason” and “traitor.” The last American convicted and imprisoned for treason was “Tokyo Rose.” She was pardoned and her conviction erased by President Gerald Ford based on evidence that she had been falsely framed by the FBI.

    When we brand as a traitor everyone who didn’t vote for the Draft-Dodger-in-Chief, the constitutional concept of treason takes on all the significance of tapioca pudding. I was a leftie before I was drafted, and served honorably so I could keep my big leftie mouth in the land of my birth.

    I note other cases brought up in these comments the charges against serving military who refused orders based on the fantasy that President Obama was not an American citizen. (The most famous advocate of this fantasy was today’s Draft-Dodger-in-Chief.)

    The Bergdahl verdict and sentence is the first time I have stood up and saluted the workings of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. We used to say “Military justice is to justice as military music is to music.”

  11. Paula   Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 3:06 PM

    The petition below, filed by Orly Taitz on the White House website, asks President Trump and Secretary of Defense Mattis to direct DOD to file an appeal of the Bergdahl decision; appeal can go up to the Supreme Court. Orly asks people to sign the petition :

  12. T.F. B0W   Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 10:40 AM

    ZebBlanchard is free, of course, to believe whatever he desires, just as he’s free to provide evidence of Darren Huff’s military service.

    Huff’s appeal, however, was most definitely acted upon:

  13. James Carter   Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 7:03 AM

    It’s not a soldier’s place to question why they are in harm’s way but, rather, to not desert their fellow soldier’s when in harm’s way.

    “Too bad the Draft-Dodger-in-Chief preferred a firing squad.”

    With all due respect for your service, that sentence belies your intellectual honesty.

    James P. Carter
    SP5 1965-1968
    Vietnam Veteran

  14. ZebBlanchard   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 7:30 PM

    T.F. BOW:
    “Darren Huff, who has not presented evidence of military service, was also convicted by a jury, and that conviction was also upheld on appeal.”

    Darren Huff is a Navy veteran.
    His appeal was never acted on.
    Go spin your detritus elsewhere.

  15. thinkwell   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 4:57 PM

    Judge Nance was right in a way about the no jail time part, but the only kind of discharge deserter Bergdahl should have received is hot lead from the firing squad’s rifles. To simply let the selfish and cowardly deserter go with what amounts to a slap on the wrist is an insult and injustice to those who bravely gave their lives attempting to rescue his unworthy carcass.

    Bob Merkin, how do you justify that Bergdahl’s cowardly desertion directly lead to the deaths of six of his fellow soldiers?

  16. T.F. BOW   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 3:39 PM

    The judge in Terry Lakin’s case ruled Obama’s eligibility was not relevant to Lakin’s disobeying orders. Lakin then pleaded guilty to disobeying orders, and he then waived his appeal. If Lakin wanted to challenge the judge’s ruling, then he shouldn’t have pleaded guilty or waive his appeal.

    Walter Fitzpatrick has been found guilty by juries, and his convictions were upheld on appeal.

    Darren Huff, who has not presented evidence of military service, was also convicted by a jury, and that conviction was also upheld on appeal.

  17. Norma Whiting   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 2:51 PM

    I am appalled at this. We have too many military guys in prison for nothing other than rattling a cage or two. Where is the justice in this? President Trump needs to be aware of some of them and issue pardons at the very least…..beginning with Darren Huff and Walter Fitzpatrick. Both of these men were unjustly accused and imprisoned. There are more whose names escape me at the moment….

  18. Bob Merkin   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 2:10 PM

    I approach the Bergdahl case from another perspective: What was he, and all US military personnel, doing in the longest overseas war in American history? Are we winning? Do we have any chance or hope of achieving any clear (as opposed to fake verbal) victory?

    Who are the American victims of this War Without End? Bergdahl is a perfect example. Without comment or further explanation, COL Nance shocked me with a sentence that represented the highest and bravest standard of any system of justice, military or civilian.

    Too bad the Draft-Dodger-in-Chief preferred a firing squad.

    Bob Merkin
    SP5 1969-1971
    Army Commendation Medal

  19. Cody Robert Judy   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 11:50 AM

    As we Reflect on Terry Lakin’s Case and the Military Courts refusal to allow evidence necessary to prove innocents including Government Docs and Testimony that lead to a dis honorable discharge, a loss of Retirement, and a lack of regard for both intelligence and honorable performance in many tours if duty as a Doctor, it is a shock to the conscience to see Bergdahl, with fellow soldiers suffering his choices, traded for Taliban Detainees as a mule, suffering a simple loss of Rank with what could only be described as a Dream-Team-Defense.





  20. Rattlerjake   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 10:49 AM

    If this doesn’t prove that even our military is loaded with leftist trolls, like judge nance, nothing will. Leftism is a disease and has infected evey segment of our population and until we “CONSERVATIVES” are willing to TAKE control, we are doomed!

  21. Stephen Hiller   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Will the NFL offer to pay the traitor’s fine ???

  22. James Carter   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 10:13 AM

    The Courts Martial Judge, Army Colonel Jeffery Nance, should now himself be Courts Martialed, dismissed from service (equivalent to a Dishonorable Discharge for an enlisted person) and forfeit all retirement benefits for “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer” and/or “Malfeasance in Office”.

    That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

    Vietnam Veteran

  23. John Gault   Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 9:26 AM

    dangerous precedent

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