Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army intelligence officer held guilty on Tuesday under numerous charges under the Espionage Act, may get less than the 136 years that the verdict against him suggested as the maximum.
This is especially because evidence that was not permitted during his court martial over the last two months will enter the record during the sentencing phase that began on Wednesday, according to his supporters.
Speaking to The Hindu at Fort Meade, Maryland, where Mr. Manning pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges but was convicted of 17 in total by military judge Denise Lind, Bradley Manning Support Network writer Nathan Fuller said that “evidence not presented during the trial” would be discussed in court by defence attorney David Coombs, and this could mitigate the final sentence.
Mr. Fuller added that while it was “relieving” that Mr. Manning was acquitted of what some described as “the most sinister charge”, of aiding the enemy, his conviction on charges relating to espionage and “treason” could still have a “chilling effect” on media and the right to free speech in the U.S.
In addition to “aiding the enemy”, Mr. Manning was also exonerated on the count of leaking to WikiLeaks an encrypted video showing a U.S. military attack on civilians in Farah Province of Afghanistan.
However he was found guilty on at least five counts under the Espionage Act, five counts of stealing the property of the U.S. government, one of “exceeding authorised access” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and several other lesser charges.