Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has three mental disorders that likely contributed to his decision to abandon his post in Afghanistan in 2009, a psychiatrist for the defense testified on Wednesday morning.
“I do believe they play a role,” Charles Morgan III, a forensic psychiatrist said of the soldier who after walking off of his post was captured by the Taliban. Morgan spent about 20 hours evaluating Bergdahl and said he suffers from schizotypal personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social phobia.
Bergdahl is facing life in prison for abandoning his post and misbehavior before the enemy. His defense team rested after Morgan’s testimony.
Bergdahl took the stand earlier this week and said he walked away from Observation Post Mest to Forward Operating Base Sharana to talk to someone about concerns he had with his leadership. His disappearance triggered extensive search and rescue missions. A National Guard soldier was severely wounded from a shot in the head.
The psychiatrist testified Wednesday that Bergdahl knew that what he was doing would get him in trouble, but he is willing to break rules if he believes it’s morally correct.
The defense hired Morgan as a renowned civilian psychiatrist with qualifications in combat stress, PTSD and the effects of captivity, according to motions last year. In addition to his interviews with Bergdahl, Morgan reviewed the soldier’s mental health records and talked to Bergdahl’s family and friends.
“I think that he responds quickly, perhaps too fast, in wanting to find a solution,” Morgan said. “Once he gets an idea that makes sense, he wants to move on it. That played a big role in his decision.”
Morgan described Bergdahl as odd, eccentric and a person who was detached from forging relationships. The prosecution called rebuttal witnesses who countered the detached defense and said that prior to his abandoning his post that he was a “team player.”
Prosecutors are expected to call their rebuttal witness, renowned forensic psychiatrist Gregory Saathoff, on Thursday.
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