A US court has acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of “aiding the enemy”, the most serious of charges against him, but convicted him of 6 counts of espionage over his role in providing classified information to the whistleblower site Wikileaks.
BREAKING: US Army Pfc Bradley Manning acquitted of aiding the enemy for giving secrets to WikiLeaks.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 30, 2013
While this is good news for Manning, he has been convicted of other charges including 21 criminal counts. If found guilty of all counts, he could have been sentenced to life in prison and 154 additional years. Prior to the verdict, Manning had pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges, which will certainly see him go to a military jail — but for how long remains up to the judge, Col. Denise Lind. However, it’s believed he could go away for 154 years.
Manning had been on trial for exposing US diplomatic cables and other classified information to Wikileaks and its leader Julian Assange. The US army private could have faced the death penalty for his alleged crimes, but the US government declined to use that option.
It’s been said that prosecutors had hoped with the “aiding the enemy” charge that Manning had “a general evil intent” and knowingly understood that it would be used by al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
The sentencing phase for Manning will begin on Wednesday.
More to follow. Please refresh for updates.
Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
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