Army announces trial by court-martial for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

FILE - This undated file image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan. Bergdahl is facing charges, including desertion, for leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009. A hearing is scheduled Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. (AP Photo/U.S. Army, file)

The Army made a big announcement today in the high-profile desertion case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

In a blow to his defense team – which had urged a lower-level referral – Sgt. Bergdahl’s case was referred for trial by court-martial.

Bergdahl’s attorney said the convening authority did not follow the advice of the preliminary hearing officer. Instead, it was announced today, that General  Robert Abrams – commanding general of Forces Command – referred the case to court-martial.

The defense team had been hoping that Bergdahl’s case would be moved only to a special misdemeanor-level military court.

Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, for disappearing from his outpost in Afghanistan, on June 30, 2009.  He was captured by Taliban insurgents and was released last year in a controversial prisoner exchange.

An investigation to determine if there was enough evidence to merit a court-martial — took place in September.

The desertion charge, which falls under Article 85 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison. Bergdahl, however, could face life in prison for the misbehavior before the enemy charge.

An arraignment hearing is expected to take place at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but a date for that has not yet been set.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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