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November 08, 2012

Lawyer: US Army Analyst Offers Lesser Plea in WikiLeaks Case

by VOA News

The lawyer for the U.S. Army analyst accused of leaking classified military documents says his client is offering to plead guilty to various lesser offenses.

Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is facing a number of charges, the most serious of which is "aiding the enemy."

His lawyer, David Coombs, said Manning is not offering to plead guilty to the charges brought by the government, but rather "accept responsibility for offenses" that make up the more serious charges against him. 

The lawyer, in a blog posting Wednesday night, said Manning has elected to be tried by a military judge, not a jury. 

Manning is being held at Fort Meade, near Baltimore, in the U.S. state of Maryland. 

He appeared at a preliminary hearing in December.  Experts for the prosecution testified they found evidence Manning downloaded diplomatic cables onto compact discs that were sent to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Manning's lawyers have described their client as a troubled man who should not have been allowed access to classified material while serving in Iraq between November 2009 and May 2010.  His attorneys also said the military's oversight of its computers was lax.

Manning could spend the rest of his life in prison if found guilty.

The leaked diplomatic cables and military reports, published by WikiLeaks starting in July 2010, infuriated the international community, often providing blunt and unflattering U.S. views of world leaders' private and public lives.

U.S. officials say WikiLeaks publication of the stolen documents put lives in danger, threatened national security and undermined American efforts to work with other countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.