Bradley Manning Has Bad Day in Court
Judge won't dismiss his most serious charge, aiding the enemy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2013 1:10 PM CDT
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted to a waiting security vehicle outside of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on July 15.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – Bradley Manning's chances of spending the rest of his life in prison rose today after a judge refused to dismiss the most serious charge against him—aiding the enemy, reports the BBC. Prosecutors say he knew full well that his leaked documents would end up in the hands of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden himself, and the judge today rejected the defense team's effort to drop the charge because of a lack of evidence.

It carries a sentence of life without parole, but today's ruling doesn't mean Manning is doomed. Prosecutors will need to meet the tougher beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard to get an actual conviction, reports the AP. Manning already has pleaded guilty to some lesser charges and faces up to 20 years on those alone. His defense team is hoping to avoid further time.