David Dishneau and Pauline Jelinek
July 30, 2013
In a split decision, U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was acquitted Tuesday of aiding the enemy – the most serious charge he faced – but was convicted of espionage, theft and nearly every other count for giving secrets to WikiLeaks, a verdict that could see him spend the rest of his life in prison.
The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, deliberated over three days before delivering a decision that denied the government a precedent that freedom of press advocates had warned could have broad implications for leak cases and investigative journalism about national security issues.
From the courtroom to world capitals, people struggled to absorb the meaning of a ruling that cleared the soldier of a charge of aiding the enemy, which would have carried a potential life sentence, but convicted him of 20 of 22 counts that, together, could also mean life behind bars.
Manning faces up to 136 years in prison if given maximum penalties in a sentencing hearing that starts Wednesday. It is expected to last most of August.