Bergdahl does not enter plea in hearing with military judge

Sgt. Bergdahl leaves his military hearing Tuesday at Fort Bragg (WNCN).

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) – U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl did not enter a plea on Tuesday when appearing before a military judge.

He appeared Tuesday at an arraignment hearing on charges of desertion and endangering troops.

Bergdahl did not say much but spoke confidently when he responded to the judge’s questions with answers of, “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir.”

Bergdahl, dressed in his military uniform, sat straight up and looked forward for most of the hearing. He did appear anxious and fidgety at times.

The Taliban held him captive for five years after he left his post in Afghanistan. He was returned to the U.S. in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.
An Army spokesman made a brief statement about an hour after the hearing. Col Daniel King said Bergdahl indicated he was satisfied with his defense council and confirmed the next hearing would be Jan. 12 at Fort Bragg.

Bergdahl’s story is the focus of this season of the popular podcast, “Serial.”

He revealed he left his outpost in Afghanistan because he was unhappy with the leadership where he was and wanted to report the situation to another general.

“I was fully confident that … people would understand that I was right,” Bergdahl said.

Now, he faces a court-martial.

The charges include desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy” for endangering the lives of the troops sent to look for him.

“We’ve heard wildly different results and comments from people as high up as the national security adviser to President Obama, who said that Bowe Bergdahl had served with honor and distinction,” said Mark Sullivan, an attorney in Raleigh who is also a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.

He said trying the case will “determine once and for all if Bowe Bergdahl is a hero or a deserter.”

Tuesday’s hearing was Bergdahl’s first chance to hear the charges against him.

WNCN reporters David Hurst and Michael Hyland contributed to this report.

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