Former captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleads guilty to desertion

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves the courthouse Tuesday Dec. 22 2015 after his arraignment hearing at Fort Bragg N.C

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is expected to plead guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior on Monday, said he would not be able to get a fair trial now because President Trump once called him a "no good traitor" and said he should be executed.

He was charged with desertion, which carries a potential five-year sentence, and with misbehavior - essentially, endangering the troops who were sent to search for him - which carries a potential life sentence.

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years, has admitted deserting his post in Afghanistan. "I understand that leaving was against the law". The defense also was rebuffed in an effort to prove President Donald Trump had unfairly swayed the case with scathing criticism of Bergdahl, including suggestions of harsh punishment. Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner after walking away from his combat outpost in Afghanistan in 2009, did not enter a plea on Tuesday at his arraignment on charges spurred by his disappearance. Bergdahl himself told a general during a preliminary investigation that he left intending to cause alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit. A 2015 report by Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee argued that Congress was misled by the administration about the exchange, which released five Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar.

Asked about Bergdahl's guilty plea on Monday, Trump said: "I'm not going to comment on him, but I think people have heard my comments in the past".

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The case divided the American public, with many regarding him as a classic deserter to the enemy but others viewing him as representative of the difficulties USA service members have under the conditions of the country's long war in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl drew worldwide headlines after he left his Army outpost in Afghanistan over eight years ago.

The court will now turn to hearing arguments over his sentence.

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