Bradley Manning Court-Martial Set for September

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Yesterday, Army Col. Denise Lind, the presiding judge in the court-martial of alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning, announced that his trial would begin on Sept 21.   After weighing arguments from the defense and prosecution, she also ruled that all 22 charges against Pfc. Manning would stand.

The most serious charge against Manning, aiding the enemy, is ordinarily a capital offense, but the prosecution has already stipulated they will not pursue the death penalty, leaving the door open for a potential plea agreement.  Manning has still not entered a plea, and may wait until right before the trial to do so.

Manning’s lead defense attorney David Coombs had argued that charge should be dropped because Manning had not intended to aid the enemy; “Why he did something isn’t relevant,” contended lead prosecutor Army Maj. Ashden Fein.

While Col. Lind let the aiding the enemy charge stand, she stipulated that the prosecution would need to prove that Manning leaked classified information with the “clear understanding” that it would be viewed by the enemy.

Additional motion hearings are expected to take place throughout the summer, starting in June.

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