Bradley Manning avoided a certain life sentence today as an Army judge found him not guilty of aiding the enemy, the most severe charge against him.
Colonel Denise Lind handed down the ruling, which did find Manning guilty of 20 lesser counts, including 5 espionage charges and stealing government property, and wrongfully storing classified information. At the begining of the trial process, Manning plead guilty to 4 of the lesser charges.
— Alexa O’Brien (@carwinb) July 30, 2013
For these charges Manning can still serve a maximum of 136 years in prison. We will learn the exact punishment Wednesday morning at the sentencing hearing at 9:30 A.M.
With the escape of the aiding the enemy charge Manning escapes the penalty of life in prison without the chance of parole but still may end up spending his life in prison.
Manning was found “not guilty” for aiding the enemy because the prosecution was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the information published by Wikileaks and leaked by Manning directly assisted the enemies of the United States by providing valuable information.
The charge of aiding the enemy was supported by one of the more infamous pieces of evidence entered into the trail: documents found in Osama Bin Laden’s compound. In July 2013, the prosecution presented a government statement that the raid on Bin Laden’s compound uncovered copies of some the documents Manning leaked to Wikileaks.
Sentencing begins tomorrow in #Manning case, maximum of 136 years.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) July 30, 2013
Manning has been convicted for his leak of over 700,000 classified documents, ranging from diplomatic memos to a video of an Iraqi military operation that resulted in the death of a Reuters photographer. All of the documents were leaked by transparency website Wikileaks in 2010.