Manning Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy, Convicted on 19 Other Charges
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JEFFREY BROWN: The verdict was not guilty today on the one charge that could have sent Private 1st Class Bradley Manning to prison for life.
After a trial at Fort Meade, Maryland though, he was convicted of numerous lesser crimes involving the release of more than 700,000 classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. The verdicts ended Manning’s two-month court-martial and came more than three years after his disclosures rocked the U.S. government.
The former Army intelligence analyst listened attentively as the judge, Colonel Denise Lind, acquitted him of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, usually reserved for direct provision of assistance of an enemy. She also found him not guilty of one other espionage charge.
But the judge convicted Manning of 19 other charges, including six counts under the Espionage Act, five counts of stealing U.S. government property, namely, the databases that contained files he disclosed, and computer fraud.
Defense attorney David Coombs hailed the acquittal on aiding the enemy, saying, “Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire.”
His supporters have argued Manning is a whistle-blower who exposed official malfeasance for the public good.
MAN: Roger. Engage.
JEFFREY BROWN: Among the most incendiary of his disclosures, a 2007 video that WikiLeaks called collateral murder. It showed the crew of a U.S. helicopter gunship in Iraq it machine-gunned a group of men suspected of being Iraqi insurgents. Instead, those killed included a Reuters News Service cameraman and his driver.
The 25-year-old Manning had already pleaded guilty to several lesser charges. The sentencing phase on today’s convictions begins tomorrow and the penalty could add up to 136 years in prison.
And we will have more on the Manning verdict after the other news.