It’s the latest chapter in the story of a soldier who has been the subject of controversy since his 2014 release after five years as a Taliban prisoner.
Lawyers for Sgt. Bergdahl have two goals- to keep him out of prison and to get more of his side of the story out to the public, amid the harsh criticism he’s received.
“Many people have made up their minds. I think it would be healthy, uh, for everyone to have more information rather than less information,” says Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney.
The military says six years ago he purposefully abandoned his unit in Afghanistan. They’ve charged him with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
Held as a Taliban prisoner for more than five years, Bergdahl was released in a swap for five Taliban members who had been held at Guantanamo Bay.
The exchange was met with fierce criticism from those who fought alongside Bergdahl in Afghanistan. They accused him of desertion, which is the topic of this week’s preliminary hearing.
On Thursday Bergdahl sat with his civilian and military defense attorneys as his platoon leader from Afghanistan testified for the prosecution. On cross, Bergdahl’s attorney’s brought up their client’s mental health history, and later pushed for greater transparency.
“We’ve been in a thus far fruitless effort to persuade the army to allow us to release sergeant Bergdahl’s extensive interview transcript,” Fidell states.
If Bergdahl is court martialed and found guilty, he faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison.