Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was convicted of the largest military leak in the history of the US, was sentenced to 35 years in military prison.
25-year-old Manning was found guilty of 20 of the 22 charges he was facing on July, 30, for espionage, theft and fraud, for leaking hundreds of thousands of military documents to WikiLeaks. Judge Col. Denise Lind found him not guilty of the most serious charge of “aiding the enemy” which carried a mandatory life sentence.
According to ABC:
The 20 charges originally carried the possibility of 136 years in prison, but Judge Col. Denise Lind later granted a defense motion that reduced the potential maximum sentence to 90 years.
In his closing arguments during the two-week sentencing phase, Manning’s defense attorney, David Coombs, continued to portray Manning as a naïve young soldier who believed he could change the world. Coombs said Manning had “pure intentions” in releasing the documents to WikiLeaks. “At that time, Pfc. Manning really, truly, genuinely believed that this information could make a difference.”But in court documents released earlier this week that explained her verdicts, Lind said Manning’s conduct “was both wanton and reckless.” She added that it “was of a heedless nature that made it actually and imminently dangerous to others.”
Last week Manning apologized for his actions in a short statement which he read during the trial’s sentencing phase:
“I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States. When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people.” He said he was sorry for the “unintended consequences” of his actions and offered that with hindsight, “I should have worked more aggressively inside the system.” Although he acknowledged that “I must pay a price for my decisions and actions” he also expressed the hope to “return to a productive place in society.”