Bowe Bergdahl to enter plea in desertion case

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty Monday at Fort Bragg to charges he endangered comrades by walking away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009

The court case wrapping up three years after a stunning Rose Garden spectacle in which former President Barack Obama, flanked by Bergdahl's parents, triumphantly announced the soldier's release from captivity.

Bergdahl’s lawyer said 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, The Associated Press reported.

The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years.

Bergdahl, 31, told the judge that he now understands what he did caused others to search for him.

Bergdahl was released in May 2014 after a highly-criticized deal in which five Taliban terrorists were set free. At the time, Obama administration officials said Bergdahl had "served with honor and distinction."

The U.S. Army said Bergdahl asked to enter his plea before the military judge, which brings the saga closer to an end eight years after Bergdahl's disappearance in Afghanistan set off search missions by scores of his fellow service members. President Obama was criticized by Republicans for the 2014 Taliban prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl home, while President Donald Trump harshly criticized Bergdahl on the campaign trail.

Bergdahl's punishment won't be known until after the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, holds the sentencing hearing that's expected to start on Oct. 23. Bergdahl, who's from Hailey, Idaho, previously chose to have his case heard by a judge alone, rather than a jury.

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