Manning originally faced up to 90 years in prison after being convicted last month on numerous charges, including violating the Espionage Act, embezzlement of government property and sharing the documents while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.
The military had asked Judge Col. Denise Lind for a sentence of 60 years in order to “send a message to any soldier contemplating stealing classified information,” according to military prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow.
However, Manning’s defense attorney David Coombs (successfully) painted the 25-year-old, baby-faced whistleblower as a well-intentioned soldier dealing with isolation and gender identity disorder. Last week, a picture of Manning dressed in a wig, wearing lipstick and women’s clothing surfaced on the internet.
In an apology before the court earlier this month, Manning admitted that he was “dealing with a lot of issues” at the time, perhaps hinting at his attempts to come to grips with his gender identity disorder. Manning had confided in his superiors regarding his “problem”, as he described the photo of him in women’s attire, in April 2010 — he leaked the first documents in February of that year. Manning had said he hoped the military would effectively cure him.
While his mental state doesn’t completely justify his actions, Manning’s superior officer, Capt. Michael Worsley, acknowledged the lack of support Manning received and the pressure he must have felt being such a “hyper-masculine environment” — adding that it “would have been difficult to say the least.”
According to The Washington Post , Manning will “receive a credit of 1,293 days for the time he has been confined prior to the sentence, including 112 days of credit for abusive treatment he was subjected to at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va.” He will have to serve one-third of his sentence before he’s eligible for parole.