FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) – U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is getting ready to go before a military judge.
On Tuesday, he’ll be at Ft. Bragg for an arraignment hearing on charges of desertion and endangering troops.
The Taliban held him captive for five years after he left his post in Afghanistan. He was returned to the U.S. in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.
Bergdahl’s story is the focus of this season of the popular podcast, “Serial.”
He reveals he left his outpost in Afghanistan because he was unhappy with the leadership where he was and wanted to report the situation to another general.
“I was fully confident that…people would understand that I was right,” Bergdahl said.
Now, he faces a court-martial.
The charges include desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy” for endangering the lives of the troops sent to look for him.
“We’ve heard wildly different results and comments from people as high up as the national security adviser to President Obama, who said that Bowe Bergdahl had served with honor and distinction,” said Mark Sullivan, an attorney in Raleigh who is also a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.
He said trying the case will “determine once and for all if Bowe Bergdahl is a hero or a deserter.”
Tuesday’s hearing is Bergdahl’s first chance to hear the charges against him and enter a plea.
He says he realized soon after he left his post that he’d made a mistake.
He said, “I was trying to prove to the world…that I was…I don’t know, Jason bourne.”
About that notion, Sullivan said, “I leave it to the panel of officers in this case to determine the credibility of a statement like that. In my book, that’s not worthy of credibility.”
Earlier this year, a hearing officer only recommended Bergdahl face what’s called a special court-martial where the maximum punishment is less than a year.
But, Gen. Robert Abrams, the chief of Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, overruled that last week.
“In this case, the convening authority, Gen. Abrams, decided on probably the basis of discipline and the importance of an example to other soldiers,” said Sullivan.
If convicted, Bergdahl could get life in prison.
“It’s clear that he would be a very good candidate for continuing care. i think everybody recognizes that,” said Bergdahl’s attorney, Eugene Fidell. “What I can say is he, like everybody else, is ready for this to be over so he can move on to other things.”
Bergdahl has been working a desk job at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
About 20 reporters will be allowed to sit in the courtroom during Tuesday’s hearing. They aren’t allowed to record it or use electronic devices of any kind during it.