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(NEW YORK) —  Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s case has been referred to a general court martial, where he could face a life sentence if convicted of misbehavior before the enemy and he could face five years of prison time if convicted of desertion.

“The U.S. Army Forces Command’s Commanding General referred two charges today, Dec. 14, in the case of United States vs. Sgt. Robert B. Bergdahl to a General Court-Martial,” the Army said in a statement.

“The two specific charges referred under the U.S. Armed Forces’ Uniform Code of Military Justice are: (1) Article 85: ‘Desertion with Intent to Shirk Important or Hazardous Duty;’ and (2) Article 99: ‘Misbehavior before the Enemy by Endangering the Safety of a Command, Unit or Place,'” the statement added.

Bergdahl’s attorney, Eugene Fidell, said in a statement that Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, did not accept the recommendation from a pre-trial hearing that Bergdahl’s case should be referred to a special court martial that would have limited prison time for a conviction to a year. Instead, Abrams decided to refer Bergdahl’s case to a general court martial for which he could get five years if convicted of desertion and a life sentence if convicted of misbehavior before the enemy.

“The convening authority did not follow the advice of the hearing officer who heard the witnesses,” said Fidell, noting he “had hoped the case would not go in this direction.”

“We will continue to defend Sgt. Bergdahl as the case proceeds,” Fidell said. “We again ask that Donald Trump cease his prejudicial months-long campaign of defamation against our client. We also ask that the House and Senate Armed Services Committees avoid any further statements or actions that prejudice our client’s right to a fair trial.”

The date of the arraignment hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will be announced at a later date.
Bergdahl disappeared June 30, 2009, from Combat Outpost Mest-Malak in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and was held captive by the Taliban for five years.

He was released on May 1, 2014, in a controversial swap for five former Taliban leaders who had been held at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.

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