Bergdahl avoids jail time, Cosby trial ends in a mistrial and Flynn pleads guilty -- notable court moments of 2017

The past year saw monumental cases end in mistrials, sentencings that left many stunned and guilty pleas that ended high-profile controversies.

In November, Bowe Bergdahl was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army, but was spared prison time. Bergdahl had pleaded guilty to desertion and faced up to life in prison for endangering his fellow soliders. The decision was quickly criticized by President Donald Trump, who called it a "complete and total disgrace to our country and to our military."

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Major court moments of 2017 -- verdicts, pleas, sentencings & acquittals
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Major court moments of 2017 -- verdicts, pleas, sentencings & acquittals

BOWE BERGDAHL

A judge ordered that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl be dishonorably discharged, but he was spared any prison time during his sentencing in November after he endangered fellow troops when he deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

(Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

MICHELLE CARTER

Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in June for encouraging 18-year-old Conrad Roy III via text to kill himself in July 2014. She was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison

(Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

MICHAEL FLYNN

Former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States in December.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

MICHAEL SLAGER

Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty to using excessive force when he fatally shot Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, multiple times. Slager was sentenced in December to 20 years in federal prison.

(REUTERS/Charleston County Sheriff's Office)

BILL COSBY

Actor Bill Cosby's sexual assault case ended in a mistrial in June. He was on trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. Prosecutors have vowed to retry the disgraced comedian. 

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

JUAN FRANCISCO LOPEZ-SANCHEZ

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was acquitted in the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle in November. Garcia Zarate, who is an illegal immigrant and was deported five times, said he found the gun and it accidentally discharged causing a ricocheted bullet to strike Steinle.

(REUTERS/POOL/Michael Macor)

JOE ARPAIO

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was pardoned by President Trump in August after he was convicted of criminal contempt. 

(REUTERS/Laura Segall/File Photo

AARON HERNANDEZ

Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez was found not guilty in connection with a 2012 double murder case in April. A few days later Hernandez hanged himself in prison where he was serving a life sentence for a separate homicide case.

(REUTERS/CJ Gunther/Pool)

ROBERT MENENDEZ

The corruption trial of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez ended in a mistrial in November. The jury remained deadlocked on bribery, fraud and other charges.

(Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

ANTHONY WEINER

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty to sexting a minor and was was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

(Anthony DelMundo/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

MARK SALLING

Former Glee actor Mark Salling pleaded guilty in a child porn case. He faces four to seven years behind bars and will have to register as a sex offender.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

LARRY NASSAR

Former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty in a federal child pornography case in July and was later sentenced to 60 years in prison. Nassar is also accused of molesting dozens of female athletes over several decades.

(JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

TIGER WOODS

Tiger Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving after he was found asleep behind the wheel of his car in May. The golfing star had painkillers, Xanax and sleeping pills in his system when he was arrested, but no alcohol. 

(Jupiter Police Department/Handout via REUTERS)

JERONIMO YANEZ

Former Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted in June in the fatal shooting death of a black motorist. Philando Castile was shot five times during the traffic stop.

(Ramsey County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS)

TODD KOHLHEPP

Todd Kohlhepp, a registered sex offender and serial killer, pleaded guilty to seven murders in May and was sentenced to consecutive life sentences. He was arrested in 2016 after a woman was found chained up in a storage container on his property. Kohlhepp claims there are more victims. 

(Spartanburg County Detention Center/Handout via REUTERS)

RAY TENSING

A mistrial was declared for a second time in the murder trial of Ray Tensing. The former University of Cincinnati police officer fatally shot Samuel Dubose during a routine traffic stop.

(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)

LYLE JEFFS

Lyle Jeffs, a Utah polygamous sect leader pleaded guilty in a food-stamp fraud case in September.

(FBI SaltLakeCity/Handout via REUTERS)

JEFFREY SANDUSKY 

Jeffery Sandusky, the son of former Penn State assistant football coach and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, pleaded guilty in a child sex abuse case in September. He was later sentenced to serve up to seven years in prison.

(Centre County Correctional Facility/Handout via REUTERS)

LLOYD LEE WELCH JR.

Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. pleaded guilty in September to the 1975 kidnapping and murder of Katherine and Sheila Lyons. The  sisters disappeared in 1975 after a trip to a Maryland mall. Welch was sentenced to 48 years in prison.

(Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

MICHAEL MCCARTHY

A jury found Michael McCarthy guilty of second-degree murder in June in the 2015 death of 2-year-old Bella Bond. The case became known as the "Baby Doe" case after the young girl's unidentified body was found wrapped in a trash bag in the Boston Harbor.

(Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

RICARDO MEDINA JR.

Actor Ricardo Medina Jr. pleaded guilty to murdering his roommate in March. The actor, best known for his role in the "Power Rangers" superhero series, admitted to stabbing the victim with a sword.

 (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

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A texting suicide case that captured headlines across the world ended with a guilty verdict in June. A judge found 20-year-old Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging 18-year-old Conrad Roy III to kill himself in July 2014. She was later sentenced to 15 months in jail. The groundbreaking case highlighted the dangers of technology and how words -- not just actions -- can cause death. 

Several high-profile cases ended in mistrials over the past year, including Bill Cosby's sex assault trial and Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial. And the acquittal of illegal immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez in the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle in November received condemnation from several political leaders. President Trump called the verdict "disgraceful," Sen. Ted Cruz said he was "disappointed and angry" and Sarah Palin called the not guilty verdict "outrageous."

Click through the gallery above to see more notable court moments from 2017, including President Trump's decision to pardon a controversial former sheriff.

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