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August court-martial set for Bowe Bergdahl

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina -- Military officials have scheduled two weeks in August for the court-martial of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that the court-martial is scheduled to begin Aug. 8 and last through Aug. 19.

Bergdahl, who was held by the Taliban for five years after he walked off a base in Afghanistan, was arraigned during a short hearing last month on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. If convicted of desertion, he could get up to five years in prison.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Tuesday before Army Judge Col. Jeffery R. Nance, who will preside over future hearings, including the court-martial.

The popular podcast "Serial" returned last month with its second season, which focuses on the story of Bergdahl.

In "Serial," which became the world's most popular podcast last year as it investigated the 1999 murder of a teenage girl in Baltimore, Bergdahl opens up to filmmaker Mark Boal, who wrote the screenplays for "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

Bergdahl told Boal he abandoned his post in an effort to draw attention to problems within his own unit.

"All I was seeing was basically, leadership failure to the point that the lives of the guys standing next to me, were, literally, from what I could see, in danger of something seriously going wrong and somebody being killed," Bergdahl said in the podcast.

"That was a gutsy move," said the interviewer Mark Boal.

"Gutsy, but still stupid," Bergdahl responded.

Bergdahl said it wasn't long after he walked away that he realized how stupid.

"Twenty minutes out, I'm going 'good grief. I'm way over my head'... suddenly it really starts to sink in," Bergdahl said. "I really did something bad. Well, not bad, but I really did something serious."

It took the Taliban about a day to find him.

"I couldn't do anything against six or seven guys with AK-47s, and they pulled up and that was it," Bergdahl said.

Bergdahl spent the next five years as a prisoner of the Taliban, much of it in a pitch-black room.

"To the point where you just want to scream, and like I can't scream. I can't risk that, so it's like you're standing there, screaming in your mind," Bergdahl recalls.

Bergdahl's stunt backfired not only on himself, but also on his fellow soldiers. Their lives were put in greater jeopardy by having to spend the next several weeks hunting for him.