Soldier to enter plea in desertion case
RALEIGH, N.C. — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will appear in court next week to enter a plea to accusations that he endangered comrades by walking off his remote post in Afghanistan in 2009, the Army announced Thursday.
The Army said Bergdahl will enter a plea to charges Monday at Fort Bragg, N.C. The news release didn’t elaborate on what his plea would entail, but two people with knowledge of the case said last week that Bergdahl is expected to plead guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. They were not authorized to discuss the case and demanded anonymity.
Prosecutors aren’t saying whether they have agreed to limit Bergdahl’s punishment. The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years.
A lawyer for Bergdahl didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment Thursday.
His trial had been scheduled to begin Oct. 23, but those dates are expected to be used for sentencing now. While guilty pleas allow Bergdahl to avoid trial, his sentencing is still likely to include testimony about service members injured searching for him.
Defense attorneys have acknowledged that Bergdahl walked off his base without authorization. Bergdahl himself told a general during a preliminary investigation that he left intending to cause alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit. He was captured soon after by the Taliban and its allies.
People wait to register for food assistance Thursday in Miami. Four sites in Miami-Dade County have been set up by state and federal agencies to help feed people still suffering after Hurricane Irma.