Lawyers for U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning say the soldier was young and naive, but had good intentions of making the world a better place by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Key Dates in WikiLeaks
2006: Set up by a group of people, including Australian Julian Assange
2008: Publishes Sarah Palin hacked emails
2009: Posts thousands of text messages from U.S. emergency workers and military personnel from September 11, 2001
2010: Releases hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables
2011: Assange appeals extradition from Britain to Sweden on sex crime charges
2012: British court upholds extradition of Assange, who takes refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London. Ecuador grants him asylum in August
But during opening statements at Manning's court-martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, prosecutors said the sensitive documents he released fell into enemy hands. They said they have evidence Osama bin Laden asked for and received information given to WikiLeaks.
Manning faces 20 years in prison for pleading guilty in February to 10 of the 22 charges brought against him. But at this trial he could receive a life sentence if convicted of aiding the enemy.
The 25-year-old intelligence analyst was arrested in 2010 while serving in Iraq. He admitted giving WikiLeaks diplomatic cables and battlefield reports from the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying he wanted to spark public debate on U.S. policy.
Manning supporters say he exposed mistakes the Pentagon would never admit. But prosecutors say he put the lives of U.S. soldiers in danger.
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