Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009, will be free of prison time, a judge ruled Friday. He will also be dishonorably discharged from the Army and reduced in rank to private.

Bergdahl made what‘s known as a “naked plea” without striking a deal with prosecutors in hopes of leniency from the judge. “I understand that leaving was against the law,” Bergdahl admitted to the judge, Col. Jeffrey R. Nance, during his pretrial hearing.

Bergdahl spent five years captive of the Taliban after deserting his post, prompting intense search and rescue efforts. He was ultimately released in a prisoner swap for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

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Puja Murgai is Special Projects Editor for Military Times.

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