Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to the charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy when he appears in court later in October, according to the Associated Press. If convicted, Bergdahl would face five years in prison for desertion and a life sentence for misbehaving in front of the enemy.
The 31-year-old decision’s to forgo a trial and accept whatever sentence the judge gives him took many by surprise. He claimed he had lagged behind during a patrol and was captured.
In reality, the disgraced Idaho native abandoned his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban shortly after. While in the Taliban’s possession, Bergdahl participated in multiple videos asking for help from the US.
After fives years of captivity, former President Obama authorized a controversial trade for Bergdahl that required the release of five Taliban detainees located in Guantanamo Bay.
Once back in the US, many began to question whether Bergdahl was actually a hero or a traitor. Obama defended Bergdahl and his family by stating the US does not “leave our men or women in uniform behind.”
“Whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity,” Obama added. By March 2015, the consensus that Bergdahl was a traitor had grown and he was formally charged.
Bergdahl asked for a presidential pardon from Obama after President Trump made his stance on Bergdahl’s alleged actions well known. During his campaign, Trump said Bergdahl was a “no-good traitor” who “should have been executed.” His request for a presidential pardon was denied.
After it was disclosed that soldiers were injured as they searched for Bergdahl, even more Americans saw him as a traitor. An Associated Press source had claimed that a seriously wounded soldier from the rescue party was scheduled to testify against Bergdahl at his trial.
Bergdahl’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, refused to comment on the allegations that his client has decided to plead guilty.