Bowe Bergdahl Will Be Arraigned for Desertion

December 27 23:58 2015

If convicted on a charge of desertion, Bergdahl could serve up to five years in prison, receive a dishonorable discharge, lose his rank and forfeit all pay.

Bergdahl, who was held by the Taliban for five years after he walked off a base, was arraigned during a short hearing on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, a relatively rare charge that carries the severe punishment. Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Taliban detainees who were being held at Guantanamo Bay.

Bergdahl, dressed in his military uniform, sat straight up and looked forward for most of the hearing.

Bergdahl spoke few words in response to the questions during that time, and mostly responded saying, “Sir, yes sir”.

During the hearing, which lasted less than 15 minutes, Bergdahl deferred his plea and his choice of having a trial before a judge or military jury. But earlier this month, the Army made a decision to pursue the full “general court-martial” to preserve the possibility of life in prison if Bergdahl is found guilty.

“The accused wishes to defer for reflection”, said Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Rosenblatt, Bergdahl’s lawyer, at a brief hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

At the time, Bergdahl’s defense attorney, Eugene Fidell, said in a statement that the defense team “hoped the case would not go in this direction”.

Bergdahl’s case has become the focus of a new season of the hit podcast Serial. He said he left in order to trigger an alert that would gain him an audience with senior military officials, where he could highlight issues he felt were putting his unit at danger.

“I was trying to prove to myself, I was trying to prove to the world, to anybody who used to know me…”

He said he was spotted by six men armed with AK-47s and travelling on motorcycles.

Troops were injured and killed, looking for Bergdahl, Buetow said. Others in his platoon were in constant fear that Bergdahl would give up information – either voluntarily or via torture – that would endanger them.

The charges against Bergdahl had been announced by the Army in March, before Visger reviewed the evidence as part of an Article 32 proceeding, which is similar to a grand jury.

 

 

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl leaves the courthouse with one of his defense attorneys Lt. Col. Franklin Rosenblatt, after an arraignment hearing for his court-martial in Fort Bragg North Carolina

Bowe Bergdahl Will Be Arraigned for Desertion
 
 
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