Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding enemy, convicted of espionage
Military Judge Denise Lind on July 30 found Army Pfc. Bradley Manning guilty of violations of the Espionage Act for his disclosure of classified information to anti-secrecy organization Wikileaks. The judge, however, acquitted Manning of the more serious charge of "aiding the enemy." In 2010 Manning leaked more than 700,000 government documents, diplomatic cables and a controversial classified video of a 2007 US helicopter strike in Iraq that resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians and two Reuters journalists. The US Army formally charged Manning in July 2010, but his bench trial did not begin until last month at Fort Meade, Md., nearly three years after his initial arrest. Manning faces 136 months to life in prison. The court is expected to sentence Manning on later this week. Several advocacy groups have decried the verdict, with Wikileaks terming it "extremist," while members of the US government have praised it as evenhanded.
Manning's case has sparked controversy across the globe since his arrest in 2010. This April, the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces rejected a request by the Center for Constitutional Rights to have access to court documents from Manning's case. That month the judge raised the burden of proof such that the government was required to prove Manning "knowingly" aided al-Qaeda. In February, Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him. Also in February the judge dismissed a motion that argued for Manning's release based on a lack of a speedy trial. In January, the judge ruled that prosecutors must prove that Manning knew he was aiding the enemy and that the treatment he received while in military custody was illegal and excessive. After his arrest, Manning was held in solitary confinement at the Quantico Marine Base brig for 112 days.