Bergdahl dishonorably discharged, no jail time after emotional trial

President Trump tweeted Friday that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's sentence-- a dishonorable discharge, but no prison time for leaving his post in June 2009 -- was a "complete and total disgrace."

More than eight years after Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan -- and unwittingly into the clutches of the Taliban -- Bergdahl walked out of a North Carolina courtroom a free man Friday. Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades, was fined, reduced in rank to E1 and dishonorably discharged -- but he received no prison time.

Trump, aboard Air Force One en route to meetings in Asia, tweeted his disapproval of the sentence.

"The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military," Trump wrote.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) watches as Jami Bergdahl (L) and Bob Bergdahl talk about the release of their son, prisoner of war U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, during a statement in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington May 31, 2014. Obama, flanked by the parents of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who is being released after being held for nearly five years by the Taliban, said in the White House Rose Garden on Saturday that the United States has an "ironclad commitment" to bring home its prisoners of war. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - GM1EA610J6201

Bowe Bergdahl's parents stand in the Rose Garden with President Obama when Bergdahl's release was announced.  (AP)

As part of the sentence, Bergdahl will forfeit his pay of $1000 per month for ten months.

Bergdahl was shaking and appeared emotional as the verdict was quickly read.

Bergdahl's defense lawyer has told reporters after sentencing that his client "has looked forward to today for a long time."

Eugene Fidell added: "Sgt. Bergdahl is grateful to everyone who searched for him in 2009, especially those who heroically sustained injuries."

Dec. 8, 2010: This file image provided by IntelCenter shows a framegrab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of a man believed to be Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, left.

Bowe Bergdahl, left, was held by militants for five years.  (AP)

Fidell told reporters that he looks forward to the appeals court reviewing Trump's statements as a candidate, which he appeared to reaffirm on the day Bergdahl pleaded guilty Oct. 16.

Addressing reporters before Trump tweeted about the sentence, Fidell said Trump had already caused one of the "most preposterous" legal situations in American history.

He said he looks forward to the appeal, adding: "We think there's an extremely strong basis for dismissal of the case."

Prosecutors had requested a 14-year prison term following a week of emotional testimony from the survivors who were wounded during missions to find Bergdahl after he left the base in June 2009. Bergdahl's defense team had asked for no prison time.

Mark Allen.   Facebook

Master Sergeant Mark Allen suffered a head injury in July 2009 while looking for Bergdahl. The injury left him unable to speak or walk.

Bergdahl faced up to life in prison for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Capt. Nina Banks, a defense attorney, said it wouldn't be justice to rescue Bergdahl from the Taliban "only to place him in a cell" now.

"Sgt. Bergdahl has been punished enough," Banks added. "Sgt. Bergdahl paid a bitter price for the choices that he made."

During the multiday sentencing hearing, Bergdahl himself testified that he was sorry for the wounds suffered by searchers. He also described brutal beatings by his captors, illness brought on by squalid conditions and maddening periods of isolation, most of it in a cramped cage.

Bergdahl pleaded guilty on Oct. 16.

The 31-year-old soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was brought home by President Barack Obama in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Obama said at the time that the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield.

Republicans roundly criticized Obama, and Trump went further while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor who deserved death.

Fox News' Terace Garnier and The Associated Press contributed to this report.