The Army Court of Criminal Appeals has suspended the much-anticipated litigation
against embattled U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The ruling comes after
prosecutors went to the court to review the decision of Col. Jeffery Nance,
the Army judge that ordered them to turn over hundreds of thousands of
classified documents to the defense.
Last month, Bergdahl and his defense team appeared before Nance and argued
for access to the documents. Prosecutors tried to assert the sensitive
nature of the material, but, in a later decision, Nance ruled that the
defense should have access to it. As fayobserver.com reports, the prosecution
filed notice on February 5 that they would seek an appeal of the decision
from the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. That court has now directed that
litigation halt as it reviews the request.
One of Bergdahl's attorneys, Lt. Col. Frank Rosenblatt, has remained
adamant that his team's access to documents is key to properly defending
his client in court-- and that it is unreasonable that the prosecution
was able to spend two months reviewing them. "That team has enjoyed
continuous access to all classified materials to aid their case preparation,"
a motion from January 26 reads. According to Rosenblatt, despite his team's
effort to secure proper clearance to see the documents, they have only
seen 900 of the 300,000 pages. "In other words, the defense to date
has had access to less than 0.3 percent of the classified materials in
the case," the same motion reads.
No Review Deadline
The Army Court of Criminal Appeals has stated no deadline for its review
of the prosecution's request, leaving Bergdahl's case in limbo.
Rosenblatt wrote to Nance on February 5, stating "We are concerned
that the stay creates an impediment to progress on an essential aspect
of trial preparation involving hundreds of thousands of pages. The stay
triggered by the government's appeal materially threatens the trial
schedule and the defense's opportunity to be prepared by the date
set for trial."
Bergdahl stands accused of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy,
the latter of which could result in the life sentence. In 2009, he left
his Afghanistan post and was later captured by Taliban operatives, who
kept him in captivity for five years. According to Bergdahl—and
his unfolding story currently being told on the Serial podcast—he
left his post to reach a nearby base where he could report what he felt
were critical and life-threatening failings with his unit's leadership.
If you are a military servicemember facing a criminal allegation or adverse
administrative action, you have a choice in your legal representation. Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law is a 10+ year veteran of the U.S. Army who has traveled the world to ensure
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