5 Things to Know as Bradley Manning Trial Starts
Kicks off 3 years after arrest
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jun 3, 2013 7:53 AM CDT
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, May 21, 2013, before a pretrial military hearing.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – Bradley Manning's trial officially begins today, after years of pretrial hearings and angry protests. If you haven't been keeping up, here are some things you'll want to know:

  • The trial is already one of the longest in military history, a Yale military law professor tells NPR, adding, "The unanswered question is why this train has run so badly off the tracks." It's been three years since Manning's arrest, and the government has set aside three more months for the trial itself. Thanks to that delay, and what a judge ruled was illegal pretrial punishment, Manning will get 112 days lopped off any sentence.

  • Twenty-four witnesses will testify in secret, including a member of SEAL Team Six; some will do so in "light disguise." The funny part? In many cases the classified data they'll testify about is now freely available to the public thanks to Manning, one activist tells the Guardian, calling it a "completely absurd reason for closing parts of a trial."
  • Manning in February pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges, a move that could have landed him up to 20 years in prison, but prosecutors rejected those pleas to pursue more serious charges, Reuters reports. Chief among them: aiding the enemy, which carries a life sentence, but which will require prosecutors to prove that Manning "knowingly gave intelligence information to al-Qaeda."
  • There's no jury: This comes at Manning's request, reports the AP. Colonel Denise Lind will function as both judge and jury.
  • Expect a guilty verdict "of some degree," or so recommends the Guardian, which makes such a prediction due to the fact that Manning has already pleaded guilty to those lesser charges. It notes that evidence the defense can't air during the trial ("notably Manning's motive for leaking") can be presented during the sentencing phase.
Click for much more on the run-up to the trial.

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Jun 4, 2013 11:48 AM CDT
I like this guy and I hate this guy. I like the guy that he let good citizens know what America is doing and I hate the guy because he also let bad people know what America is doing.
Jun 4, 2013 8:24 AM CDT
He released the names of all the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Letting the public know what was going on is one thing but giving out the names of those who were on the ground and fighting was malicious and hateful. Let alone all the information regarding troop concentrations and armaments. The public doesn't need to know that. He betrayed the trust of his fellow soldiers and put all them in harms way at home and abroad. He's not that stupid or naive. He worked in the intelligence department.
Jun 3, 2013 9:37 PM CDT
The ONE thing to know: corporate-owned mass media HAS lied and will CONTINUE to lie about Manning, Wikileaks, Assange, and US foreign policy in toto.