Chelsea Manning

Bradley Manning, Not Guilty of Aiding the Enemy, Faces 136 Years in Prison


US Army/wikimedia

Yesterday, Private Bradley Manning was found guilty of all but two charges he was facing. Although Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge, he could be sentenced to 136 years in prison.

Click here for an outline of the verdict with maximum possible sentences for each charge.

The charges Manning has been found guilty of do not have mandatory minimums.  

Manning's defense team has asked judge Col. Denise Lind to merge two of the espionage convictions and two of the theft convictions. If Lind agrees to the defense's request Manning faces a maximum of 116 years in prison.

While Manning supporters might be celebrating the fact that Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence, there is still the possibility that Manning could still spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Both the government and the defense will be calling witnesses for the sentencing phase of the trial, which could take weeks.

Before the verdict was released I moderated a discussion on Bradley Manning with independent journalist Alexa O'Brien, the Daily Beast's Eli Lake, and Adam Klasfeld from Courthouse News.

Watch Below:

Reactions to the Manning verdict have been predictably diverse. John Malcolm from the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation argues that Manning deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. Some members of Congress welcomed the verdict, while Reporters Without Borders said that it was a blow to investigative journalism. Wikileaks' Julian Assange said the verdict was an example of "national security extremism."

NEXT: New FBI Director Pressured To Step Up Benghazi Probe

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  1. I was shocked to hear Dick Morris, former Clinton advisor and red-faced predictor of a Romney landslide, say on his radio show that Manning and Snowden deserved medals for their revelations, also praising Rand Paul. Is Morris turning libertarian because he didn’t need to antagonize his normally warboner conservative audience?

    1. Morris knows a bit about leaking classified information. He had harsh words for Ron Paul during the republican primaries so I’m going to guess that he may try to peddle his wares to the libertarian leaning voter since he has either pissed off or disappointed every other group.

  2. Well, he is technically guilty of those crimes he was convicted for. I just hope some leniency in the sentenancing (while recognizing that he should actually do some time for what he did, as that makes the act of disobedience resonate with even more chutzpah).

  3. Hero. Time served and an apology.

    1. We wish, and I’m sure he does, even more so. But I don’t think he will get off quite that easy. I am thinking he gets 15 – 20 years, and serves at least 2-4 of it, before he somehow gets out early.

      His best bet is probably a Rand Paul as president and he get pardoned.

      I mean seriously, is this kid a menace to society, that he needs to be locked in a cage? Give me a fucking break, the US justice system is a joke. Not as bad, yet, as Russia or Saudi Arabia, but give it a few more years the way we are going, and it will be.

      1. I am thinking he gets 15 – 20 years, and serves at least 2-4 of it, before he somehow gets out early.

        I agree with you. No way is he going to get hit with the max. sentence.

  4. Ten years in the general population of a military prison with the words “I stole classified information and gave it to our enemies” tattooed on his forehead using a rusty knitting needle.

    1. Is that supposed to be a joke.

      1. No, but his critical thinking skills are.

  5. He’s guilty and a criminal and should go to jail for a few years but this is ridiculous.

    1. Agreed.

    2. He’s not a criminal. If he had exposed actual ordinary murders, would anyone say he violated his oath to obey orders? Crime is crime, but some crimes, such as violating the constitution or war crimes, are much worse, and he was under no obligation to support those crimes.

      1. I think the problem Manning faces is that unlike Snowden, he wasn’t exposing crimes committed by the government in a targeted way, ala Snowden, he did more of a indiscriminate document dump.

        Then you had the odd mix of his supporters calling him a hero and defender of open government, and then you had Manning’s own defense saying, “I knew not what I was doing, I was suffering PTSD because of my gayness” which kind of threw the narrative sideways (for me).

        1. Agreed. I see it as more of an act of vandalism on his part- releasing umpteen files of which he didn’t have a clue of the content.

          Still, I don’t think he should do too much time.

  6. OH wow, only 136 years lol

  7. Ken at Popehat is always on these “maximum sentence” discussions. Apparently the theoretically possible maximum sentence you get from adding up all the counts is almost never imposed.

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