Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of desertion with intention to shirk duty and misbehavior before the enemy stemming from his 2009 disappearance and capture by the Taliban.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said Monday he is pleading guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
Bergdahl spent five years in captivity by the Taliban in Afghanistan after walking off his post in 2009. He said he realized he made a mistake only 20 minutes after leaving his base.
U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (2nd R) leaves the courthouse with his defense attorney, Lt. Col. Franklin Rosenblatt (L), after an arraignment hearing for his court-martial in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, December 22, 2015.
His lawyer says the prosecution and defense have not agreed to a stipulation of facts in the case, which is an indication that they did not reach a deal to limit his punishment.
In an interview filmed a year ago by a British filmmaker and obtained by ABC news, Bergdahl said that he didn't think it was possible for him to get a fair trial under President Donald Trump, who made Bergdahl a target during his campaign.
Legal scholars have said that several pretrial rulings against the defense have given prosecutors leverage to pursue stiff punishment against Bergdahl.
"We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs that got what they wanted", Bergdahl said in an interview taped previous year that was aired Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America". Perhaps most significant was the judge's decision in June to allow evidence of serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl at the sentencing phase.
Trump had also called during his run for president for Bergdahl to be put to death for desertion. 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.
In 2014, White House National Security advisor Susan Rice insisted that Bergdahl "served the United States with honor and distinction" after the Obama administration exchanged five Taliban commanders for his release.