Today marked the first day in the ongoing trial against former intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, who previously pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 charges against him after submitting over 700,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks. Manning faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge: endangering American lives by aiding the enemy.
Manning’s defense presented him as “naive but good-intentioned,” claiming his “struggles” while stationed in Iraq are what caused him to leak the classified documents.
In the defense’s opening statement this morning, prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow unveiled the government’s secret weapon in the case against Manning: evidence that proves material found in Osama bin Laden’s hideout can be directly linked to the leaked documents.
Morrow also says materials submitted to WikiLeaks presented “potentially actionable information for targeting US forces,” and Manning “used his military training to gain the notoriety he craved.” During the rest of the trial, Capt. Joe Morrow plans to also convince a military judge that Manning “attempted to hide what he was doing,” which would prove he had a sense that what he was doing was wrong.
Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, painted his client as an eager soldier wanting “to make Iraq a safer place.” After witnessing a troubling attack on a convoy with his comrades, Manning began struggling with his time in Iraq, and believed the information he released would ultimately lead to restrategizing the war in Iraq, making operations safer for US soldiers.
It was reported that Manning was also offered a plea deal, which would take a life prison sentence off the table if he pleads guilty. We’ll keep you updated as additional details are revealed.