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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 -- as well as misbehavior before the enemy, a much rarer offense that carries a stiffer potential penalty in this case.
Bergdahl could face a life sentence if convicted of the charge, which accuses him of endangering fellow soldiers when he "left without authority; and wrongfully caused search and recovery operations."
Observers say the misbehavior charge allows authorities to allege that Bergdahl not only left his unit with one less soldier, but that his deliberate action put soldiers who searched for him in harm's way. The Pentagon has said there is no evidence anyone died searching for Bergdahl.
"You're able to say that what he did had a particular impact or put particular people at risk. It is less generic than just quitting," said Lawrence Morris, a retired Army colonel who served as the branch's top prosecutor and top public defender.
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