Bergdahl was cleared to return to a desk job at a Texas military
base this week after the Army said he had completed counseling and a
He has retained Eugene Fidell, a specialist in military law, to
represent him as the Army investigates the circumstances surrounding
his disappearance and capture in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.
In response to a question about Bergdahl's state of mind, Fidell
pointed to the Army's decision to place him on regular duty.
"The Army that had him under close observation for several weeks
concluded he had reached a point where it could wind down the
reintegration process," Fidell told Reuters.
He declined to say who approached him to serve as the pro bono
lawyer for the soldier from Hailey, Idaho, but said he spoke with
Bergdahl before being hired by him about a week ago.
Bergdahl was freed May 31 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners
held at the U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Critics of the deal said the Obama administration paid too high a
price and questioned if Bergdahl had deserted his combat outpost
before being captured.
'CAPTIVE OF KILLERS'
Fidell said Bergdahl was "deeply grateful to President Obama for
having saved his life" and somewhat aware of the controversy
surrounding his case. He declined to provide details about his
client’s experiences while in Taliban hands.
"Suffice it to say he has spent five years as a captive of ruthless
killers. You can use your imagination as to what that must have been
like," said Fidell.
Bergdahl is permitted to come and go from the base in San Antonio,
an army spokesman said. He has not been issued a firearm but those
are not generally issued to his unit, he said.
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Fidell also declined to comment on reports Bergdahl has refused to
talk to his parents, saying it was a private matter.
The lawyer described his recent, informal meeting with the two-star
general heading the Bergdahl probe as a "very cordial, pleasant
conversation," and said he expects for a more official meeting in
Kimberly Dellacorva, a close friend of Bowe Bergdahl, said she
contacted Fidell to represent the former captive, who she first met
in Idaho 14 years ago when he took a fencing class with her son and
Dellacorva said Bergdahl was not under the impression he might need
legal counsel in addition to the lawyer assigned to him by the
military, but that she wanted to ensure he had all the support he
needed after his ordeal in Afghanistan.
"He did go through an extreme situation," said Dellacorva, who
recently visited Bergdahl in Texas. "We adore him and he's worth
helping in every way. He is like one of my kids."
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric
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