Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 29, is set to face court-martial on desertion charges.
On Dec. 14, Bergdahl was charged with desertion and endangering troops for walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, The New York Times reports. Bergdahl's decision to leave his post prompted a massive manhunt throughout the country and left him in the hands of the Taliban for nearly five years. Bergdahl was freed after President Barack Obama traded him for five senior Taliban commanders.
Berghdal recently said in an interview for the "Serial" podcast that he left his post to walk 18 miles to another base, where he hoped to speak to senior officials about leadership problems that were endangering his unit.
Many politicians have spoken out against Bergdahl for his actions, including Republican presidential candidate front-runner Donald Trump, who said the sergeant is a “traitor” and called for his execution.
“We again ask that Donald Trump cease his prejudicial monthslong campaign of defamation against our client,” Bergdahl’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “We also ask that the House and Senate Armed Services Committees avoid any further statements or actions that prejudice our client’s right to a fair trial.”
If the military jury finds Bergdahl guilty of desertion, he faces a maximum five-year sentence. If he's convicted of endangering troops, he could face life imprisonment.