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July 11, 2013

Defense Rests Case in Manning Wikileaks Trial

by VOA News

The defense rested its case Wednesday in the court-martial of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of passing classified military documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

Manning is charged with 21 counts, including espionage and computer fraud. He faces a possible term of life in prison if found guilty of the most serious charge - aiding the enemy.

Defense lawyers called 10 witnesses in three days of testimony aimed at convincing a military judge that 700,000 leaked classified files, cables and videos posed no threat to national security or U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The trial judge, Colonel Denise Lind, set a hearing for Monday on whether a prosecution rebuttal hearing should be held. If she rules the hearing should be held, it will take place July 18. If not, closing arguments will begin Tuesday.

In an opening statement Monday, defense lawyer David Coombs sought to portray the 25-year-old Manning as naive but well-intentioned, in seeking to show the day-to-day realities of the two wars.

Manning declined to testify in the trial. He said at a pre-trial hearing, though, that he leaked the material to expose what he called the U.S. military's "bloodlust" and disregard for human life in both wars.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.