FRONTLINE- Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday (Aug 21, 2013), after being convicted of espionage and other crimes related to the biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history.
The U.S. government had asked for “no less than 60 years” in prison for the 25-year-old Manning, along with a demotion in rank and a $100,000 fine, for passing classified documents to Wikileaks.
If you “betray your country, you do not deserve the mercy of a court of law,” Cpt. Joe Morrow, a lawyer for the government, told the military court on Monday, according to a reporter who was in the courtroom.
The defense, arguing that Manning had good intentions, had asked for a sentence that would “not rob him of his youth.”
In her ruling, Judge Col. Denise Lind reduced Manning’s rank, and ruled he should be dishonorably discharged, but didn’t levy the fine. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving one-third of his sentence.
Under military commission rules, the sentence must be reviewed by the Office of the Convening Authority, which has the power to set aside or amend the sentence — but not increase it.
Manning was acquitted of the most serious charge he faced — aiding the enemy — which amounted to treason and would alone have sentenced him to life in prison. But the judge found him guilty of leaking the information and of espionage. All told, the charges he was convicted of could have led to a maximum of 136 years in prison. The judge later lowered that to a maximum of 90 years… MORE
Watch WikiSecrets, FRONTLINE’s investigation into Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and the largest intelligence breach in U.S. history, and The Private Life of Bradley Manning, a profile of the early years of the young soldier now accused of leaking more than half a million classified U.S. government documents.