Bergdahl arraigned, defers plea on desertion charges

Bergdahl arraigned, defers plea on desertion charges
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Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Tuesday was arraigned on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, after leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and subsequently being held captive by the Taliban for five years.  

Bergdahl, 29, deferred entering a plea during the arraignment at Fort Bragg, and did not indicate whether he prefers to face a court-martial with a jury or with a judge. 

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If found guilty of misbehavior before the enemy, Bergdahl could face life in prison. A desertion charge would carry a maximum five-year sentence, according to ABC News. 

Bergdahl was released by the Taliban in May after the Obama administration exchanged him for five senior Taliban commanders held at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. 

A U.S. government watchdog and House Armed Services Committee investigation concluded that the administration broke the law in keeping the swap secret from members of Congress until hours after the exchange. 

Bergdahl's next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2016.

In the meantime, he has allowed interviews with him and filmmaker Mark Boal to be aired on National Public Radio's "Serial" podcast, in which he defends his decision to leave his post. He said he left in order to trigger an alert that would gain him an audience with senior military officials, where he could highlight issues he felt were putting his unit at danger.