Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, freed after years of captivity in Afghanistan and returned to active duty this week, has retained an attorney — a military law expert from Yale.
Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, told the Los Angeles Times that he has been representing Bergdahl for about a week and is working pro bono.
Fidell said he has received a variety of reactions to his decision to work with Bergdahl.
“There are people who harbor ill will toward my client,” Fidell said, but at the same time he has received emails “wishing my client well.”
“The American people have a pretty good sense of fellow feeling and sympathy. It’s no secret that Sgt. Bergdahl went through an astounding and terrifying ordeal … people are fascinated whether they’re sympathetic or in the vilification business.”
Fidell said he spoke with Bergdahl but declined to discuss many details, citing confidentiality.
“He is deeply grateful to President Barack Obama for having saved his life,” Fidell said, “by doing whatever had to be done.”
Bergdahl, 28, was released May 31, after nearly five years as a prisoner of war held by Islamic militants.
Bergdahl’s future remains in limbo until the Army completes an investigation into his disappearance in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009.