(FORT MEADE, Md.) — Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private convicted of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified government documents, will learn on Wednesday how many years he’ll spend behind bars.
Manning, 25, faces up to 90 years in prison for being the source of one of WikiLeaks’ largest disclosures of U.S. secrets. Government prosecutors have asked the court for a sentence of 60 years, while defense lawyers have asked for no more than 25.
Manning was found guilty last month of most of the charges against him, but not the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. The army private had already pleaded guilty to 10 of the less serious of the 22 charges in a deal that at the time would’ve gotten him an expected 20 years in prison.
On July 30, a military judge announced the court’s finding on the rest of the charges, a majority of them guilty verdicts, for espionage, theft and fraud. However, Manning managed to avoid the charge of aiding the enemy, which could have carried with it a life sentence.
The nearly two-month court-martial began three years after Manning was first detained in Iraq for suspicion of having leaked the video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack that killed several Iraqi civilians. He was subsequently charged in relation to the November 2010 leak of the nearly three-quarter million classified or confidential documents.
The release of the documents has been described as the most extensive leak of classified information in U.S. history.
Prosecutors had argued that Manning knew the material he leaked would be seen by al Qaeda, and thus he had a “general evil intent” behind his actions.
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