Ft. Meade, MD. - The military judge in the Wikileaks case against an Army private found the accused guilty of espionage today.
Facing a maximum of 128 years in prison, the case against Pvt. Bradley Manning will go into sentencing phase on Wednesday, July 31, following his acquittal for aiding the enemy and an additional 25 counts against him.
Army Col. Denise Lind deliberated for about 16 hours in sessions spread over 3 days. In eliminating the charge of aiding the enemy, she removed the possibility of a life sentence from the array of punishment possible following the hacker's conviction.
Pvt. Manning acknowledged leaking more than 700,000 battlefield reports, many of them addressed to top commanders and State Department officials, as well as a Reuters video of a helicopter attack that left civilians, including a driver and news photographer dead while airmen laughed and called them “dead bastards.”
A self-avowed homosexual, Pvt. Manning was recruited by a Wikileaks associate he met in an off-post assignation in Boston. He said he carried out his operation in hopes of exposing American “blood lust,” and of establishing a “dialogue” over the nation's foreign policy. He previously plead guilty to lesser charges that could possibly net him 20 years behind bars.
The judge announced she will release detailed findings explaining her verdict, but did not specify when she will do so.