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Soldier’s brain injury in focus at US Army’s Bergdahl sentencing

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The wife of a U.S. soldier who suffered a debilitating brain injury during the search for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan is expected to be one of prosecutors’ last witnesses when the deserter’s sentencing hearing resumes on Monday.

Master Sergeant Mark Allen is confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak after being shot in the head during a July 2009 mission to seek intelligence on Bergdahl, who had abandoned his post days earlier.

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Prosecutors said testimony by Allen’s wife and his doctor about the effects of his wounds will likely conclude their case at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, where Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

The 31-year-old Idaho native faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a dishonorable discharge.

He has been the subject of withering criticism from political leaders in Washington and fellow soldiers, both for the dangerous search to find him and the 2014 Taliban prisoner swap brokered by the Democratic Obama administration that won his release.

During campaigning for the presidency last year, Donald Trump, a Republican, called Bergdahl “a no-good traitor who should have been executed.”

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In sometimes emotional testimony last week, U.S. service members described the risks and hardships they faced after Bergdahl walked off his combat outpost in Paktika province in June 2009.

Texas Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Jason Walters saw Allen get shot during the Taliban ambush on troops seeking information on Bergdahl’s location. He choked up as he recalled visiting Allen later in a Florida hospital.

“Seeing him like that was…painful,” Walters said.

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Bergdahl admitted on Oct. 16 to wrongdoing but said he never intended to put anyone at risk. [L2N1MR0G6]

He told Army Colonel Jeffery Nance, the judge in the case, that he had planned to go to a nearby base to report “critical problems” in his chain of command, got lost and was captured by the Taliban. He spent the next five years in captivity suffering torture, abuse and neglect.

Over defense objections, Nance has allowed evidence of injuries sustained by Allen and others because they occurred during search-and-rescue operations prompted by Bergdahl’s actions.

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Major Oren Gleich, one of Bergdahl’s lawyers, argued on Thursday there should be a limit to how much blame his client shoulders.

“The accused is not responsible for a never-ending chain of causes and effects,” Gleich said.

Bergdahl’s attorneys are expected to present expert testimony about his suffering in captivity in hopes of securing a more lenient sentence, military law experts said.

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(Reporting by Greg Lacour; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Mary Milliken)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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