Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy via his attorney Monday. Bergdahl was charged after he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in June 2009 and was held in captivity by the Taliban until May 2014.
The Taliban released Bergdahl in a prisoner swap for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
During questioning from a judge, Bergdahl said Monday, “I left my observation post on my own.” He also said, “I understand leaving was against the law.”
Former President Barack Obama did not grant Bergdahl’s request for a pardon before leaving office despite commuting 330 sentences just 24 hours ahead of transferring power to President Donald Trump.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said Bergdahl “should be shot” for walking off his post. Trump also said that “in the good old days, he would have been executed.”
After Trump became President, Bergdahl’s lawyers argued the judge should dismiss the charges against their client because of Trump’s comments, contending that it would not be possible for Bergdahl to get a fair trial.
But a military judge ruled against dismissing charges against Bergdahl in February despite his lawyers’ claim that Trump violated their client’s due-process rights.
In August, Bergdahl chose to be tried by a military judge instead of a jury, according to a court filing posted by his defense team.