Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty to Lesser Charges

But pleads not guilty to espionage for aiding the enemy

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 28, 2013 12:25 PM CST

(Newser) – Bradley Manning pleaded not guilty today to the 12 most serious charges against him, including espionage for aiding the enemy. But the US Army private did plead guilty to 10 lesser charges in the WikiLeaks case, the Los Angeles Times reports. Those 10 charges could mean he spends 20 years in prison for leaking classified material. (NBC News puts the sentence at 18 years for nine charges, plus dishonorable discharge.) Because of the not-guilty pleas, Manning's court-martial will begin June 3. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Also at today's hearing, Manning read a statement explaining his motives, saying he was disillusioned with the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports AP. "I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information ... this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general," he said. Manning added that he went to WikiLeaks after trying unsuccessfully to give the data to the Washington Post and New York Times.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, right, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, June 25, 2012, after a pretrial hearing.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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