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Judge denies Bradley Manning's motion to drop WikiLeaks charges

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Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning

The judge in Bradley Manning's court-martial today upheld a set of charges against the Army private, including that of aiding the enemy, for providing information to WikiLeaks. Prosecutors argued that Manning's leaks indirectly aided information to the enemy, a fact he should have known given his training as an intelligence analyst. The defense countered that at the time of the leaks, WikiLeaks was generally viewed as a journalistic outlet dedicated to publishing secrets, and that Manning's training had never specifically dealt with the site. At the time, the defense argued, even the US Army didn't regard WikiLeaks as a threat.

Manning will face charges of aiding the enemy

Defense witness Yochai Benkler, a Harvard law professor, also testified that the legal notion of "indirectly aiding the enemy" would have a chilling effect on press freedom. The government had previously stated that, regardless of WikiLeaks' status as a journalistic organization, the charges should stand, and that even if The New York Times had been the sole, direct recipient of the leaks, Manning would still face prosecution.

Defense lawyers had asked to have some charges dismissed, saying that the prosecution had offered only circumstantial evidence to support its case. Army Colonel Denise Lind today denied that motion, leaving Manning open to the "aiding the enemy" charge and six others. Having already pled guilty to some charges, he now faces the possibility of life in prison, plus 154 years, with the trial expected to conclude soon.