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New details hint at role of psychology in Bergdahl defense

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Bowe Bergdahl, 25, disappeared in June 2009 after he finished his guard shift at a combat outpost in southeastern Afghanistan's Paktika province. He has been seen in several videos released by the Taliban. He was released on May 31, 2014.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Well before Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his Army post in Afghanistan, he washed out of the Coast Guard during boot camp when he suffered a panic attack.

Two years later, though, he joined the Army, obtaining a waiver from rules that bar the enlistment of those with psychological problems.

The details about his mental health — including the Army’s later diagnosis of Bergdahl as suffering from “schizotypal personality disorder” — are contained in newly released documents that offer a glimpse of the legal strategy his lawyers may use in the desertion case against him.

Bergdahl’s military trial is set to begin over the summer.

His lawyers would not comment on how his psychiatric history figures in their strategy. But they argued at a hearing in late 2015 that his diagnosis is a mitigating factor.