August 21, 2013
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - A military judge has sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving a trove of military and diplomatic secrets to the website WikiLeaks.
Manning was sentenced Wednesday at Fort Meade, near Baltimore.
The judge convicted the 25-year-old soldier last month of 20 offenses, including six violations of the Espionage Act. He could have been sentenced to 90 years in prison.
Prosecutors had asked for at least 60 years behind bars. Manning's lawyer suggested no more than 25, because by then, some of the documents Manning leaked will be declassified.
Manning will get credit for the more than three years he has been held, but he'll have to serve at least one-third of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. His rank was reduced to private, he was dishonorably discharged and he forfeited his pay.
The native of Crescent, Oklahoma, digitally copied and released more than 700,000 documents, including Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department cables, while working in 2010 in Iraq.
He also leaked video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that mistakenly killed at least nine people, including a Reuters photographer.
At his trial, Manning said he gave the material to the secrets-spilling website WikiLeaks to expose the U.S. military's "bloodlust" and generate debate over the wars and U.S. policy.
During the sentencing phase, he apologized for the damage he caused, saying, "When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people."