Judge reduces possible sentence in WikiLeaks case
BY DAVID DISHNEAU Associated Press
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
1/09/13 at 4:52 AM
A military judge on Tuesday reduced the potential sentence for an Army private accused of sending reams of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Army Col. Denise Lind made the ruling during a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade for Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Lind refused to dismiss the charges against Manning but found that he suffered illegal pretrial punishment during nine months in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. She awarded a total of 112 days off any prison sentence Manning gets if he is convicted.
Manning was confined to a windowless cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing. Brig officials say it was to keep him from hurting himself or others.
The judge said Manning's confinement was "more rigorous than necessary."
Manning, who spent most of his early life in Crescent, Okla., faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum of life behind bars. His trial begins March 6.
The 25-year-old intelligence analyst sought to have the charges against him thrown out, arguing that the military held him in unduly punishing pretrial conditions after his 2010 arrest.
Jailers at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., have testified they considered Manning a suicide risk and that they were only trying to keep him from hurting himself and others by keeping him in a windowless, 6-by-8-foot cell for all but one hour a day.
Prosecutors conceded in December that Manning was improperly held on suicide watch for seven days and recommended he get seven days' credit at sentencing.
Manning is back at Fort Meade for a four-day pretrial hearing that includes arguments on whether his motivation matters.
Prosecutors want the judge to bar the defense from producing evidence at Manning's trial regarding his motive for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of secret war logs and diplomatic cables. They say motive is irrelevant to whether he leaked intelligence, knowing it would be seen by al-Qaida.
Original Print Headline: Potential sentence reduced
Pfc. Bradley Manning: The soldier, who spent his early life in Crescent, Okla., had sought to have 22 charges against him thrown out on grounds he was unduly punished after his 2010 arrest. A military judge said his confinement was ''more rigorous than necessary,'' and awarded 112 days off any prison sentence he might get if he is convicted