Bergdahl lawyers rip government case, dispute most serious charge

Posted at 8:00 AM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 10:00:25-04

Lawyers for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, are seeking to limit the severity of punishments he could face through new arguments attacking the structure of the case against him.

One motion slated for argument at a hearing Wednesday contends the most serious charge against Bergdahl should be dismissed because his actions didn't rise to the level of criminality required to trigger the rare offense.

Another motion argues that his capture by the Taliban prevented him from returning to his comrades during the period when he's accused of the separate charge of desertion.

A legal scholar not involved in the case, Eric Carpenter, said defense attorneys could have a tough time convincing the judge of those arguments -- but a favorable ruling on either could help steer the case away from harsher punishments.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

(by Associated Press)