Bergdahl Arraigned on Charges Including Desertion, Defers Plea

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held by the Taliban for five years, appeared Tuesday before a military judge on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl was arraigned during a short hearing and deferred entering a plea and did not decide whether he wants to face a court-martial with a jury or one with just a judge. He said little beyond answering "yes" and "no" to questions about whether he understood his rights and the court proceedings. He wore an Army dress uniform with a dark blue jacket and pants and had closely cropped hair.

He appeared demure, sitting mostly still in his chair then walking deliberately with his head down as he left the courtroom. He talked quietly with his military attorney before and after the hearing.

If convicted at a general court-martial, Bergdahl could get life in prison on the misbehavior charge and up to five years for desertion.

The judge in the case, Col. Christopher Fredrikson, scheduled a Jan. 12 pretrial hearing to discuss motions.

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