Manning's Lawyer Pleads For Leniency

Attorneys for Bradley Manning, the soldier found guilty of turning over 700,000 classified U.S. files to WikiLeaks, called on a military judge on Monday to sentence him to a term that "doesn't rob him of his youth," rather than the 60 years urged by prosecutors.

Update: Judge to announce sentence for PFC Bradley Manning Wednesday at 10 am ET.

As the year-and-a-half trial of Bradley Manning wound to an end, defense attorney David Combs asked in his closing arguments that the judge sentence Manning to a term that "doesn't rob him of his youth," calling him "a young man who is capable of being redeemed." Manning turned 700,000 classified douments over to WikiLeaks in 2010, committing the largest leak of secret papers in U.S. history. On the prosecution side, Captain Joe Morrow argued for a 60-year sentence and told the court that for Manning's betrayal, "he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in prison." Judge Colonol Denise Lind is expected to begin the sentencing deliberation on Tuesday.

Reuters:

"In July, Lind found the Army private first class guilty of 20 criminal charges including espionage, which carry a possible prison sentence of up to 90 years. She found him not guilty of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, which could have carried a penalty of life in prison without parole.

Prosecuting attorneys contended during the trial that when Manning turned over the secret documents he had put national security, including overseas intelligence operatives, at risk. They argued and witnesses testified that the slightly built soldier had hoped to spark a broader debate on the role of the U.S. military.

According to defense testimony during the trial, military supervisors ignored bizarre acts by Manning that included trying to grab a gun during a counseling session. Defense attorneys had argued that such actions showed Manning was not fit for duty overseas.

Morrow argued that the military was not to blame for Manning's actions.

"It wasn't the military's fault. It wasn't because he saw something horrible. It was because he had an agenda. It matters that he took an oath and he knowingly broke it," Morrow said. "The Army didn't abandon PFC Manning. PFC Manning abandoned the Army."

On Tuesday, Judge Lind is expected to begin deliberating the length of Manning's sentence, which will likely be served in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas."

Manning addressed the court last Wednesday, telling the judge he was "sorry" for his actions.

"I understand I must pay a price for my decisions," he said.

A United Nations special rapporteur on torture recently declared that the United States’ treatment of Manning was cruel and inhuman while he was held for three years without trial.

A petition was created by supporters to tell the Convening Authority that they would openly volunteer to serve part of Manning’s sentence. The petition had hundreds of signers within hours, and thousands as of being posted online earlier this month.

A rights group began a petition saying that Manning should be a candidate for this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his actions.

Judge Lind could render her decision on sentencing as early as Tuesday.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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