Will Sgt. Bergdahl be charged with desertion for leaving his post?

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by Mayra Moreno / KENS 5

KENS 5

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 9:30 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 13 at 9:31 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Now that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is back in the states and going through the reintegration process, another question arises: Is there a possibility he will be charged?

Sgt. Bergdahl is innocent until proven guilty, but whether or not he will be charged for leaving his post is, in large part, a political decision. That's according to Brian Bouffard, a lawyer based in the Dallas area.

Bouffard has spent most of his career representing people accused of military crimes. Bouffard tells KENS 5 Sgt. Bergdahl will spend his time in San Antonio receiving medical care, but he will also be interrogated.

According to Bouffard, the government will try to gain information from Bergdahl to learn about the enemy, as well as why he went missing from his post in Afghanistan back in 2009. He was then captured by the Taliban and held captive for five years.

"The white house seems to have come down on one side of this, so far, and hopefully they will be open-minded and let the investigation go where it goes," said Bouffard. "If it (the government) can prove he had the intent to stay away permanently, then they can charge him with desertion."

Bouffard said a charge of desertion in time of war can carry a death sentence. He claims the decision to go forward with prosecution will have to come from a commanding general.

The public should stay open-minded and tap the brakes on labeling Bergdahl a "traitor" or a "hero" until all the evidence comes out, Bouffard said.

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