Whether Pvt. Travis King will face Army punishment for fleeing into North Korea in July remains an open question days after he returned to U.S. soil on Sept. 28.
The Army said Tuesday that it still had not decided how to handle the case of the 23-year-old soldier as he continued the reintegration process at a Texas base. Service officials said it's still too soon to decide whether he will be punished or charged for any crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
However, legal experts say King is in a position to potentially face a wide range of charges, even desertion, despite the fact that the military never formally labeled him a deserter during his weeks of captivity by the secretive autocratic regime.
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“They can go all the way from sending him to a court-martial with a very significant charge — a desertion charge — down to taking no action,” Eric Carpenter, a law professor at the Florida International University College of Law and a former Army judge advocate, told Military.com in a phone interview Tuesday.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told reporters at a press conference Tuesday that
“we will get to the point where the chain of command will decide what consequences he'll be facing, but we're not at that point right now.”
Wormuth said the Army is focused on King's reintegration for now.
King was able…