Bergdahl Thanks Obama for 'Saving His Life': Lawyer

Former POW lawyers up with Eugene Fidell amid investigation

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 17, 2014 10:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bowe Bergdahl has lawyered up as he readies for a US army investigation into his 2009 disappearance. The former Taliban POW has recruited Eugene Fidell—a Yale military justice professor and "the best in his field," according to a colleague—to represent him, NBC News reports. Fidell, who previously criticized the military during the Chelsea Manning case, says he's flattered to have been chosen by Bergdahl, who is back on active duty and proud to be wearing a US Army uniform. Fidell adds to the Daily Beast, "Sergeant Bergdahl is deeply grateful to President Obama for saving his life."

Though he refuses to talk strategy, Fidell told the press just last month, before taking on the case, that Bergdahl could see five years in prison, though he added "you typically don't throw the book at people" who have been prisoners. Meanwhile, the New York Times now reports "the circumstances of Sergeant Bergdahl’s day-to-day life are not like any other soldier's." A source explains that the Army, in seeking to "reintegrate" Bergdahl, has had soldiers both praise him for surviving years with the Taliban and accuse him of being a deserter—just as he might expect in real life. "It’s a rigorous program that the Army runs," says Fidell. "It’s every intensive and very carefully done, and he has cooperated fully."

Eugene R. Fidell, the lawyer representing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Wednesday, July 16, 2014.   (AP Photo)
This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.   (AP Photo/U.S. Army, File)
In this file image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video, File)
Eugene R. Fidell, the lawyer representing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Wednesday, July 16, 2014.   (AP Photo)
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