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Defense rests in Bergdahl hearing

Defense rests in Bergdahl hearing
Posted at 1:36 PM, Nov 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-01 15:36:33-04

Defense attorneys for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey have finished presenting evidence they hope will win him leniency on charges of endangering his comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

They called their last witness and rested Wednesday. Prosecutors told the judge they may call a rebuttal witness Thursday morning. The judge also asked them to have their closing arguments ready for Thursday.

Bergdahl faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The judge has wide leeway to decide his sentence because Bergdahl made no deal with prosecutors to cap his punishment.

Earlier, a psychiatrist testified Bergdahl suffered from a schizophrenia-like condition that helped spur his decision to walk off his post in Afghanistan.

Dr. Charles Morgan testified that Bergdahl suffered from schizotypal personality disorder. Morgan said the disorder is similar to schizophrenia, but sufferers generally aren't psychotic. Morgan testified that, despite the disorder, Bergdahl knew right from wrong when he walked off his post -- intending to reach another base to report what he saw as problems with his unit.

Morgan said that Bergdahl has “a self-critical interior monologue” that he doesn't recognize as his own thoughts, but it's not the same as audible voices that schizophrenia sufferers hear.

Morgan noted that a symptom of the disorder is that Bergdahl has “trouble seeing the second- and third-order effects” of his actions and how they will impact other people.

(by Associated Press)