(AP) – Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl unexpectedly took the stand at his sentencing hearing to apologize to service members who got wounded searching for him.
Bergdahl was the first witness that the defense presented as they began putting on their evidence in the sentencing hearing. They hadn’t previously made it known that Bergdahl would address the court. It was his most extensive remarks in court yet.
He started with a statement apologizing to those who searched for him, choking up at times.
He said: “My words can’t take away what the people have been through.”
Under questioning by his own attorneys, he also gave a lengthy description of his brutal five years of captivity by Taliban allies.
He gave an unsworn statement, meaning that the judge will consider it but Bergdahl won’t be cross-examined by the prosecutors.
The wife of a soldier wounded while searching for Sgt. Bergdahl gave emotional testimony about the effects of his brain trauma on their family.
Prosecutors called their final witness, Shannon Allen, to discuss the injuries suffered by her husband when he was shot during a search mission for Bergdahl after he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. National Guard Master Sgt. Mark Allen was shot in the head during an insurgent ambush.
He’s unable to speak and paralyzed over much of his body.
Shannon Allen’s voice faltered when she referred to the brain injury’s effect on his interactions with their daughter, who was an infant when he was wounded. She is now 9. She said he’s not able to reach out and hold his daughter.
Bergdahl faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to charges that he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.