GI Offers Plea Acknowledging WikiLeaks Role
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FORT MEADE, Md. (CBSDC/AP) - The Army private charged with leaking government secrets to the world is offering a guilty plea to lesser offenses.
Pfc. Bradley Manning, 24, faces 22 charges for allegedly sending hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and war logs to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.
Manning’s defense attorney, David Coombs, revealed the offer Wednesday during a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade.
Coombs said Manning will not plead guilty to the offenses charged by the government but is offering to take responsibility for some of the less serious offenses encapsulated within the charged crimes.
Even if the court accepts the offer, military prosecutors could still try to prove Manning guilty of the more serious charges – including aiding the enemy – which are punishable by life imprisonment.
Coombs also said Manning has elected to be tried by a military judge, not a jury, at his trial in February.
The hearing resumes Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.
In August, Manning claimed he received harsh pretrial treatment that was ordered from high up the chain of command, enough to warrant dismissal of the trial. That motion was denied.
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