US Military to Charge Bowe Bergdahl with Desertion

  • A video capture of Bowe Bergdahl with his Taliban captors.
    A video capture of Bowe Bergdahl with his Taliban captors.
  • This photo provided by Eugene R. Fidell shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl preparing to be interviewed by Army investigators in August, 2014. (AP Photo/Eugene R. Fidell)
  • Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
    Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

The Army has filed desertion charges against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was released in Afghanistan last spring after five years in captivity, Bergdahl's lawyer said Wednesday.

Bergdahl, 28, will be charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy under Articles 85 and 95 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, said Eugene Fidell, a military law specialist who has represented Bergdahl since his release.

Fidell said an Article 32 proceeding on the Bergdahl case, comparable to a grand jury investigation in civilian law, was scheduled to begin at Fort Sam Houston, Tex., on April 22. Fidell declined initial comment on whether he was surprised that the Army decided to proceed with the charges.

Bergdahl's release in the controversial case came in a deal that resulted in the transfer of five Taliban prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay to the Gulf state of Qatar.

Others in Bergdahl's unit have charged in Congressional hearings and told news outlets that they believe Bergdahl willingly left his post in Afghanistan and that soldiers were killed or wounded in subsequent searches for Bergdahl.

Bergdahl went missing on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan's Paktika province and was believed to have been held in Pakistan and elsewhere by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group allied with the Taliban.

Following Bergdahl's return to the U.S., the Army began an investigation on whether he should be charged. The investigation was completed last October and was sent to the Pentagon. The case was later forwarded to Gen. Mark Milley, commander of Army Forces Command, to determine whether Bergdahl should be charged.

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