Travis King, soldier who crossed border into North Korea, charged with desertion


(NEW YORK) — Army private Travis King, who crossed the border into North Korea before being returned to the U.S. in September, has been charged with desertion, according to military charging documents a source close to the case shared with ABC News Thursday night.

In addition to desertion for crossing over into North Korea, where he was detained for two months, King faces seven additional charges, including possessing child pornography and multiple assaults, according to the documents. A defense official confirmed the desertion and assault charges to ABC News, while another said reports on the charges were correct.

A spokesperson for the First Armored Division, King’s unit, was not available for comment late Thursday night, but the documents say King was informed of the charges on Wednesday.

Claudine Gates, Pvt. King’s mother, issued a statement in support of her son, asking for him to be presumed innocent.

“I love my son unconditionally and am extremely concerned about his mental health. As his mother, I ask that my son be afforded the presumption of innocence,” she said in her statement. “The man I raised, the man I dropped off at boot camp, the man who spent the holidays with me before deploying did not drink. A mother knows her son, and I believe something happened to mine while he was deployed. The Army promised to investigate what happened at Camp Humphries, and I await the results.”

King has been assigned two JAG officers as council, and he will also be represented by attorneys Sherilyn A. Bunn and Joshua Grumbaugh, and professor Franklin D. Rosenblatt, ABC has learned.

“I am grateful for the extraordinary legal team representing my son, and I look forward to my son having his day in court,” her statement concluded.

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