Manning guilty on most counts; not guilty of aiding enemy

Manning is escorted by military police after his conviction on July 30.
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Manning is escorted by military police after his conviction on July 30.

A U.S. military judge on Tuesday found Army Pfc. Bradley Manning guilty of most of 21 criminal counts, but not of aiding the enemy, for handing over documents to WikiLeaks in the biggest breach of classified information in the nation's history

Judge Colonel Denise Lind said Manning, who was accused of sharing more than 700,000 classified U.S. files with the anti-secrecy website, was not guilty of the most serious charge, which carries a penalty of life in prison without parole.

Manning was convicted of five espionage counts, five theft charges, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions. His sentencing hearing is set to begin Wednesday.

The U.S. government was pushing for the maximum penalty for what it viewed as a serious breach of national security, which included battlefield reports from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, while anti-secrecy activists praised Manning's action as shining a light on shadowy U.S. operations abroad.

Army prosecutors contended during the court-martial that U.S. security was harmed when WikiLeaks published combat videos of an attack by an American Apache helicopter gunship, diplomatic cables and secret details on prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay that Manning provided the site while he was a junior intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.

A crowd of about 30 Manning supporters had gathered outside Fort Meade ahead of the reading of the verdict.

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The 25-year-old Crescent, Okla., native acknowledged giving Wikileaks hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and videos in early 2010.

Manning said he didn't believe the information would harm troops in Afghanistan and Iraq or threaten national security.

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