RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Military prosecutors have reached into a section of military law seldom used since World War II in the politically fraught case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan.Observers wondered for months if Bergdahl would be charged with desertion after the deal brokered by the U.S. to bring him home. He was — but he was also charged with misbehavior before the enemy, a much rarer offense that carries a stiffer potential penalty in this case.
Theoretically, Article 99 carries the death penalty. As a practical matter, it is highly unlikely that Bergdahl will receive a life sentence, let alone the death penalty.
It should be noted that the Article 32 hearing, akin to a grand jury proceeding, hasn’t yet begun, and Bergdahl has not been formally charged as yet, let alone convicted.