Bradley Manning acquitted of aiding enemy, guilty of other charges in WikiLeaks case
A military judge Tuesday found U.S. soldier Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge he faced for handing over documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, but he still likely faces a long jail term after being found guilty of all 19 other counts.
Col. Denise Lind ruled the 25-year-old Army private first class was guilty of five espionage charges, among many others, for the largest unauthorized release of classified U.S. data in history.
The trove of documents, including battlefield videos and diplomatic cables, was a huge boost for WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. Tuesday's verdict could be a blow to his efforts to encourage people with access to secret information to release it publicly.
Supporters of Manning were heartened by the not-guilty ruling on the most serious charge, though WikiLeaks said the conviction represented "a very serious new precedent."
Manning, who was working as a low-level intelligence analyst in Baghdad when he was arrested three years ago, could face up to 136 years in military prison. Lind will take up the question of his sentence on Wednesday.
The U.S. government was pushing for a life sentence, which would have come if Manning had been convicted of aiding the enemy.
"The verdict is certainly a chilling one for investigative journalism, for people who might come into information that they believe should be part of the public discourse," said Michael Bochenek, director of law and policy at Amnesty International.