(WASHINGTON) — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former Taliban POW who has just returned to active duty, has lawyered up, asking prominent military affairs attorney Eugene Fidell to take his case.
Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, told ABC News Wednesday that he has been representing Bergdahl for about a week and is working pro bono.
“I think it’s important that people, particularly people who have been vilified have proper representation, and every lawyer has a responsibility to represent even unpopular clients and that’s why I’m involved in this,” Fidell told ABC News.
Bergdahl also has an Army lawyer who will be representing him, but he approached Fidell for additional help, Fidell said.
The Army said when it put Bergdahl back on regular duty this week that it would continue to investigate the details of his capture by the Taliban in 2009. He was freed in a controversial swap of Taliban prisoners being held in Guantanamo earlier this year.
Defense officials say an initial investigation completed in 2009 determined that Bergdahl had voluntarily left his outpost, though it could not determine his intent.
Fidell met with Bergdahl last week, but won’t comment on his condition. Fidell also would not discuss whether he has spoken with Bergdahl’s parents. Since his return to the U.S., Bergdahl has declined to speak with his parents, defense officials said.
The lawyer said that Bergdahl has not yet been interviewed by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl who is heading the investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance from his Afghanistan outpost. Fidell said he spoke with Dahl Tuesday and they had a “cordial and professional” conversation and he looks forward to meeting him. He doesn’t anticipate Dahl will conduct substantive interviews with Bergdahl for a couple of weeks, and he’ll be present for the interviews.
Bergdahl, 28, recently completed a lengthy reintegration process with the Army. He has been assigned a desk job at the headquarters of U.S. Army North at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. He has not been charged with any crimes and not been read his rights in anticipation of any charges, defense officials said this week.
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