‘Serial’s’ Bowe Bergdahl Expected to Plead Guilty to Desertion

A guilty plea allows subject of the hit podcast to avoid trial

Bowe Bergdahl, the army sergeant who was the subject of popular crime podcast “Serial,” is expected to plead guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy to avoid trial.

Bergdahl with submit his plea later this month, and sentencing will begin Oct. 23, two people with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press Friday. He could face up to five years in prison for the desertion charge and a life sentence for the misbehavior charge.

Bergdahl’s case, documented in “Serial” Season 2, a podcast from the creators of “This American Life,” rocked the nation when he disappeared in 2009 from his infantry post in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. He was 23 years old at the time. Videos later emerged of Bergdahl captured by the Taliban, and he described being locked in a dark room, brutally beaten and chained to a bed.

His disappearance spurred a large search effort, and U.S. troops who were wounded during the search are expected to testify during the sentencing, sources told AP.

Five years after his disappearance, in 2014, Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Taliban members held at Guantanamo Bay. People were then split on whether to view Bergdahl as a hero or a traitor. At the time of his release, President Obama said that regardless of how Bergdahl was captured, the United States does not “leave our men or women in uniform behind.”

On the 2016 presidential campaign trail, Donald Trump took a very different stance, and said Bergdahl “should have been executed.”

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