Army prosecutors filed a statement Tuesday alleging that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan for the purpose of joining the Russian mob.
“He mentioned his plan would be to go through Pakistan and into India and join the Russian mob,” then-Pfc. Shane Cross, a fellow soldier of Bergdahl’s, told Army investigators in an affidavit. “Prior to the deployment he had claimed to speak Russian, that he had learned while working on a fishing boat that traveled to Europe. He also mentioned that he wouldn’t want any tattoos, because they would be identifiable marks on his body.”
Cross did not take Bergdahl’s mention of joining the mob seriously.
And then all of a sudden, Bergdahl disappeared on June 30, 2009, at about midnight. He had spilled his plan to Cross the morning before, San Antonio Express-News reports.
The Taliban captured him in mere hours and held him as a prisoner for five years before he was returned home to the U.S. in 2014 after a prisoner swap.
Prosecutors drew on the mob statement, as well as his attempt to join the French Foreign Legion and his time onboard a fishing boat in Alaska, to establish that his departure from his unit in eastern Afghanistan was intentional based on a psychological disposition towards adventure.
Bergdahl “discussed his desire to continue his adventure-seeking lifestyle, saying, ‘If the deployment is lame, I am going to walk into the mountains of Pakistan and work for whomever is out there. I have survived in the mountains at home,’” according to an Army motion.
But attorneys for Bergdahl think the motion is nonsense.
“Allowing these matters into evidence will waste time, confuse the issues, mislead the trier of fact and unfairly prejudice SGT Bergdahl,” his attorneys argued.
Bergdahl has maintained he left his position to raise attention to leadership reforms that desperately needed implementation.
He now awaits two charges: desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He’s now staring down a potential life sentence.