From Stars and Stripes
FORT BRAGG, N.C.— Accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl should be awarded several medals including the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal, his military lawyer asserted Tuesday during a pre-trail hearing.
Army Lt. Col. Franklin Rosenblatt said Bergdahl, accused of abandoning his eastern Afghanistan post in 2009 before he was captured by the Taliban, was entitled to the awards and the Army’s failure to grant them could bias potential jurors in the trial.
Bergdahl faces a general court-martial on charges of “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place” and “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty.” He has not yet entered a plea.
“We believe this is a prejudice and casts a semblance of guilt,” Rosenblatt told Army judge Col. Jeffrey R. Nance, during the hearing that largely focused on the defense’s ability to access classified material related to Bergdahl’s case. “We encourage the government to correct that.”
Bergdahl, who appeared for the first time in front of Nance on Tuesday, wore a pressed dress blue uniform with sergeant’s stripes, a Combat Infantryman Badge and 10 overseas service bars, representing his five years in captivity. Rosenblatt said Bergdahl should be authorized to wear the Purple Heart, the POW Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the NATO medal. Read More