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Bergdahl Desertion Trial Delayed

  • VOA News

FILE - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, second right, leaves the courthouse with his defense attorney, Lt. Col. Franklin Rosenblatt, left, after an arraignment hearing for his court-martial in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Dec. 22, 2015.

The military court martial of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been delayed until May 15, after prosecutors requested more time to retrieve classified evidence that was requested by Bergdahl's defense team.

During a pre-trial hearing Monday, the presiding Army judge also heard a prosecution request to allow evidence from two soldiers who said they were wounded while trying to find Bergdahl when he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

A military officer testified that he saw another soldier shot in the head during the search for Bergdahl. U.S. Army National Guard Sergeant First Class Mark Allen was shot in the head and suffered a traumatic brain injury that has left him in a wheelchair. Another soldier had hand injuries and required surgery because of a rocket-propelled grenade.

Prosecutors argued that Bergdahl's disappearance effectively put other military members in harm's way.

Bergdahl was captured by the Haqqani Network, an ally of the Taliban, and held captive for five years. He was released in May 2014 in a prisoner swap for five Taliban leaders held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bergdahl is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the latter of which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.