The US Army has filed multiple charges against Pte Travis King, including desertion, assault, and solicitation of child abuse images. King, who was released from North Korean custody in September, now faces a legal battle as he prepares to defend himself against eight distinct charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The army has not yet commented on the matter.
King’s mother, Claudine Gates, has expressed her unconditional love for her son and requested that he be presumed innocent. She believes that something may have happened to King while he was deployed and is awaiting the results of the army’s investigation into the matter.
After his release from North Korea, the army prioritized King’s care, deferring questions about disciplinary action. He was flown to a military hospital in Texas for medical evaluations, including mental health assessments. Details about his treatment in North Korean custody remain scarce, and King has not publicly explained why he fled to North Korea.
The charges against King include assault against fellow soldiers, solicitation of child abuse images, insubordination, and possession of alcohol in violation of army regulations. King’s family has hired a legal team, including Franklin Rosenblatt, to defend him. Rosenblatt previously served as the lead military defense counsel in the court martial proceedings against Bowe Bergdahl.
Prior to his incident in North Korea, King had faced allegations of assault in South Korea. He pleaded guilty to assault and damaging public property, resulting in a month-long detention. King was due to face disciplinary action in the US after his release from South Korean detention but fled to North Korea instead.
Desertion is among the charges filed against King, with the army stating that he left it in South Korea with the intention of permanently staying away. If convicted of desertion, King could face imprisonment for up to three years. Other charges include kicking and punching other officers, making false statements, and possessing a video of a child engaged in sexual activity.