U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will not serve prison time for deserting his post in Afghanistan in 2009, a military judge ruled Friday. Instead, Bergdahl, 31, will be dishonorably discharged with his rank reduced to private, and fined $1,000 a month for 10 months, CNN reports.
Bergdahl was held captive by the Taliban for five years after his desertion and was exchanged in 2014 by former President Barack Obama for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Bergdahl is blamed by some for the death of six of his comrades in the 1st Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment following his disappearance in 2009. "[Bergdahl's] fallen comrades were on other missions like securing the Afghan elections and, according to one U.S. military official, the period of intensive ground searches had already ended," Newsweek writes, although "several soldiers in his unit say the quest to locate him never really ended, and that it was an element of every mission they undertook, prompting some to blame the deaths on him." Among those who have blamed Bergdahl is President Trump, who tweeted in 2015 that he should "face the death penalty" for abandoning his post.
Bergdahl's sentencing hearing began Oct. 23. He originally faced a maximum sentence of lifetime imprisonment for his desertion.