U.S. Army Sergeant Bergdahl to enter plea
in desertion case
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[October 16, 2017]
By Colleen Jenkins
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Reuters) - U.S. Army
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, accused of endangering the fellow soldiers who
searched for him after he walked off his combat outpost in Afghanistan
in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban, is scheduled to enter a plea in
his case on Monday.
The Army said Bergdahl, 31, would appear in court in Fort Bragg, North
Carolina, where he was scheduled to stand trial this month on charges of
desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, with the latter offense
carrying a possible life sentence.
The Associated Press, citing unnamed sources, reported he would plead
guilty to those charges. Bergdahl's lawyer and the Army have declined
comment on the nature of the plea.
The Idaho native has been derided by Republicans, who criticized the
Obama administration for the Taliban prisoner swap in 2014 that won his
release after five years in captivity. During last year's presidential
campaign, Donald Trump called Bergdahl "a no-good traitor who should
have been executed."
Bergdahl's lawyers argued such comments made it impossible for him to
get a fair trial, but military judges refused to dismiss the charges.
Bergdahl, who was charged in 2015, remains on active duty in a clerical
job at a base in San Antonio. He has said he left his post to draw
attention to “leadership failure” in his unit.
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Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl leaves the courthouse after an
arraignment hearing for his court-martial in Fort Bragg, North
Carolina, U.S., December 22, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo
The official search for him lasted 45 days, but the United States
spent years trying to determine his whereabouts and bring him home.
During that time, he endured torture, abuse and neglect at the hands
of Taliban forces, including beatings and confinement in a metal
cage barely big enough to stand in, a military expert testified
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Additional reporting by Jim Forsyth
in San Antonio; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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