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Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion

By
Danielle Haynes
President Obama (center) walks with the parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Jani Bergdahl (left) and Bob Bergdahl (right) back to the Oval Office after making a statement regarding the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban, May 31, 2014, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C. UPI/J.H. Owen/Pool
President Obama (center) walks with the parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Jani Bergdahl (left) and Bob Bergdahl (right) back to the Oval Office after making a statement regarding the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban, May 31, 2014, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C. UPI/J.H. Owen/Pool | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive in Afghanistan for five years, was officially charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy on Wednesday.

Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, told The Washington Post his client was given a charge sheet with the offenses Tuesday.

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He faces one count each of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in military prison, forfeiture of pay and stripping of rank, Army Col. Daniel King said.

Bergdahl now faces a military procedure similar to a grand jury investigation and if it's decided the charges are appropriate, he could face a court martial.

"This is an important step in the military justice process towards determining the accountability of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former prisoner of war. "I am confident that the Department of the Army will continue to ensure this process is conducted with the utmost integrity under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

After leaving his post in an Afghanistan combat zone, Bergdahl was captured in Pakistan by the Haqqani Network, a terrorist group engaged in fighting Afghan and NATO troops. He was released in May 2014 in a prisoner swap with five Taliban leaders who were being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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