Sides are arguing over access to confidential information
Prosecution asked for delay to allow appeals court to rule
A judge in the court proceedings involving Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, has issued a stay of proceedings, essentially putting the court martial on hold.
The stay is in place until an appeals court can resolve a dispute involving the sharing of classified evidence with Bergdahl’s defense team.
Last week a military judge ordered the prosecution to provide defense attorneys with classified material, even evidence that hadn’t been cleared by authorities who designate the classification for government documents. In its appeal, the military argued the court should act with an “abudance of caution.” The government requested the delay.
The defense says in court documents that it most recently was denied access to classified materials in mid-January. It says it has only been given access to less than 1% of the classified material in the case.
Other motions in the case not related to confidential information will go forward, Judge Col. Jeffrey Nance indicated in an email to the two sides.
Bergdahl stands charged with one count of desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty, aka Article 85, and one count of misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place, aka Article 99. A conviction could command life in prison.
Bergdahl disappeared from Combat Outpost Mest-Malak in Afghanistan’s Paktika Province near the Pakistan border in June 2009 and was later captured by the Taliban. President Barack Obama secured his release in a prisoner swap announced May 31, 2014. In the deal, Bergdahl was exchanged for five Guantanamo Bay detainees. He returned to the United States two weeks later.
He was arraigned in December and didn’t enter a plea.
The trial portion of the court martial, being held at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is scheduled for August.