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Bergdahl Judge Rejects Motion to Limit Desertion Duration

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, arrives with his military lawyer for a legal hearing at Fort Bragg, N.C., in July 2016. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, arrives with his military lawyer for a legal hearing at Fort Bragg, N.C., in July 2016. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- A judge has refused to rule that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's capture by the Taliban ended his unauthorized absence, hours after he left his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

Bergdahl's lawyers said they needed a ruling on the duration so they could advise him on how to enter a plea to the desertion charge. Bergdahl was held captive by the Taliban and its allies for five years.

The judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, said in a ruling June 22 that the length of Bergdahl's unauthorized absence should be decided at trial in October. Nance says Bergdahl doesn't need the determination beforehand to make a decision on his plea.

Bergdahl also faces a separate charge of misbehavior before the enemy that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

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