BREAKING: Bowe Bergdahl Offically Charged With Desertion, Faces Life in Prison

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Mar 25, 2015 2:08 PM
BREAKING: Bowe Bergdahl Offically Charged With Desertion, Faces Life in Prison

UPDATE 3:35 pm: The United States Army announced this afternoon from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be charged under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice with one count of desertion with intention to shirk important and hazardous duty and one count of  misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place. If convicted, the first charge of desertion carries a potential maximum penalty of dishonorable discharge, rank deduction, forfeiture of paid allowances and maximum confinement of five years. The second charge of misbehavior before the enemy carries a potential maximum penalty of reduction in rank, forfeiture of paid allowances, confinement for life.

Under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, a preliminary Article 32 hearing has been scheduled and will be held at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. When the hearing will take place will be announced at a later date. A court marshal for Bergdahl will be pursued.

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According to the Associated Press Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was traded last summer by the Obama administration for five Taliban commanders, will be charged with desertion. Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in June 2009. The Pentagon will hold a press conference at 3:30 eastern time to give details. 

Last year President Obama held a ceremony in the Rose Garden with Bergdahl's parents and touted the swap of Bergdahl as an important moment in U.S. history, arguing no American should be left behind on the battlefield. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said during an interview with ABC News that Bergdahl served with honor and distinction. 

But shortly after the swap was released, many members of Bergdahl's Afghanistan platoon came forward to accuse him of desertion. Allies of the administration questioned the integrity of the men for doing so. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Brandon Friedman suggested publicly that the platoon might be full of "psychopaths." State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf portrayed the allegations of platoon members as not credible and the men as liars. She refused to apologize for doing so.

 

Not a single member of Bergdahl's platoon came forward to defend him against desertion allegations

"I think the Army needs to do what's right here and abide by the Army values and he [Bergdahl] needs to face consequence for his action," Army Specialist Cody Full said on Hannity in July 2014. "Not only is it a slap in the face to all the men and women who have served honorably, who upheld their oath and it's also a bad precedent to set toward future service members."


Stay tuned for updates to this story.

This post has been updated with additional information and will be updated with information. The year in the last sentence of this post has been corrected to 2014, it previously said 2015.