Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arraigned on desertion charges
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl faced a judge on Tuesday for the first time after the Army decided to proceed with a court martial trial which could lead to Bergdahl receiving a life sentence for his disappearance in Afghanistan in 2009. 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. If convicted of desertion, he could get up to five years in prison.
Bergdahl, 29, appeared in a dark blue dress uniform with a light blue cord over his right shoulder signifying his service in the Army infantry. He stood ramrod straight next to his Army lawyer, Lt. Col. Franklin Rosenblatt, as a military judge, Col. Christopher T. Fredrikson, told him he has the choice to have a jury of soldiers decide his case or a judge. Bergdahl, speaking in a deep, but soft-spoken voice, responded “Yes sir, I do,” when Fredrikson asked if he understood the case against him. His defense team also indicated that it wishes to keep civilian military justice expert Eugene Fidell as his attorney for the remainder of the case along with Rosenblatt.
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