Yale Law School lecturer Eugene R. Fidell has been hired by Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to represent him. Bergdahl, following five years as a prisoner of the Taliban, was traded by the U.S. for five Taliban leaders, according to The New Haven Register.
“It’s a case that resonates with many people and engages their sense of fairness,” Fidell said. “It’s a very dramatic series of facts.”
Fidell is the former president and the co-founder of the National Institute of Military Justice.
After he was released on May 31, Bergdahl has since returned to regular duty with his company at its headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. Fidell noted that he was hired earlier in the month of July.
Fidell said that since being hired, “I’ve had only the most heart-warming and favorable emails this morning either from people I’ve never heard from before or [from] people … I’ve known for many years.”
Bergdahl’s case has yet to be investigated by the Army. It includes allegations that he deserted his post prior to being captured by the Taliban.
“He hasn’t been charged with anything at the moment and we’ll deal with the charges when they’re filed,” Fidell said.
“There are people who have vilified Sgt. Bergdahl, there are people who attempted to turn him into a kind of piñata,” Fidell told the Associated Press. “On the other hand, there are people of good will who have communicated with me their sympathy for the experience Sgt. Bergdahl has had to undergo, the ordeal really.”
An initial investigation by the military in 2009 concluded that he knowingly walked away from his post, according to evidence the military had then. Some former members of his unit said that others were injured or killed trying to find him. Disciplinary action against Bergdahl has yet to be ruled out by the Army.
According to the Army, Bergdahl is assigned to U.S. Army North at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
“The Army has closely monitored his health in all aspects,” Fidell said. “And they determined he can return to normal duty. He and I have about the same chance of winding up on the battlefield again. His ordeal I’m sure is unimaginable for the rest of us.”
Fidell said that Bergdahl was “saved from a prolonged period of mortal danger at enemy hands.” He is also “deeply grateful to President Obama for having saved” him.
“I’ve been interested and relieved at the kind of feedback I’ve had now that my involvement has become known. I look forward to more of the same.”