Bergdahl arraigned on desertion charge

— Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl made his first appearance before a military judge Tuesday morning at Fort Bragg to face charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl, 29, of Hailey, Idaho, disappeared in Afghanistan in 2009 after walking away from his post, and he was held by the Taliban for five years. He was released last year in exchange for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

At a short hearing Tuesday, he deferred entering a plea and also put off choosing whether his court-martial will be handled by a panel of officers, a panel of enlisted soldiers or by military judge Col. Jeffrey Nance.

Bergdahl answered “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 mostly sat still in his chair and walked with his head down as he left the courtroom.

He didn’t speak to reporters waiting in the rain outside the courthouse on Fort Bragg.

The court-martial is scheduled for Jan. 12. If convicted, Bergdahl could get life in prison on the misbehavior charge and up to five years for desertion.

,Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl made his first appearance before a military judge Tuesday morning at Fort Bragg to face charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

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