Bradley Manning Willing To Admit To Leaking Info To Wikileaks, Hoping For More Limited Trial

from the ongoing-process dept

As the Bradley Manning court martial trial moves forward, Manning has apparently submitted a plea notice more or less looking to speed up the process by effectively admitting to the fact that he leaked the info to Wikileaks, without pleading “guilty” to any of the charges. The idea appears to be a procedural move to try to take a shortcut to focusing on some lesser charges by admitting some factual things, and leaving some of the most serious charges off the table. This isn’t a “plea bargain” in which both sides make an agreement — but rather an attempt to effectively say “here’s what we agree to, without having to go through the effort of proving it, and then let’s focus on these lesser charges.” The judge does not need to accept this offer, however.

Manning did not plead guilty to the charged offenses in the plea notice. However, significantly, he did indicate with this notice that he is willing to admit to the fact that the act of providing information to WikiLeaks did occur or that the government has evidence that would prove he did commit the act and so he is willing to plea to it.

The notice was a plea to lesser-included offenses—charges with different elements that the judge could agree upon if there is no evidence for the more severe charges. Pleading to lesser-included offenses makes it possible to not plea to committing offenses under the Espionage Act or Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Importantly, he can plead guilty without accepting the government’s charge that he “aided the enemy” or “exceeded authorized access” on his computer

Notably, that report, from Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola, points out that even if this goes through, Manning could still end up with life in prison for “aiding the enemy.”

Meanwhile, Andy Greenberg notes that merely making this offer does not bind Manning into this admission — especially if the government doesn’t accept the deal (the judge has to accept it first). He can rescind it, and it can’t be used against him. It’s basically an attempt to speed up the process, along with the recognition that Manning almost certainly is going to be found guilty of something, so the attempt is to narrow down the possible charges to things that aren’t quite as severe.

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Comments on “Bradley Manning Willing To Admit To Leaking Info To Wikileaks, Hoping For More Limited Trial”

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12 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

This isn’t a “plea bargain” in which both sides make an agreement — but rather an attempt to effectively say “here’s what we agree to, without having to go through the effort of proving it, and then let’s focus on these lesser charges.

Sounds like a plea offer to me. He’s saying that he’ll plead guilty if they drop the more serious charges. It’s not a plea bargain, but it’s an offer to enter into one.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Normally a plea bargain happens behind closed doors when both sides meet and come to an agreement.

He had an idea what he was doing, but the amazing piling on of charges makes it more difficult to handle the case. He knew he was going to be most likely facing jail time, but the hyper throw the kitchen sink at him charges to satisfy the calls for blood from our leaders and the media.

Considering how “wonderful” his treatment has been during this moving forward, I think many would call it torture, this is a good tactical move. They get him to plea guilty to some lesser charges, and then can avoid wasting time trying to make other charges stick.
Would even the most diehard of pundits demand that it has to be 6 not 4 life sentences? They would be mocked hard.

We all wanted Lori Drew punished for “something”, and what we got was a long drawn out waste of time and money trying to shoehorn things that were not meant to fit.

Also by speeding things up there is less time for coverage of the leaks themselves or his treatment in custody to bubble up in the media and very uncomfortable questions being asked about actions being taken in “our” name.

socrates2 (profile) says:

Who says torture doesn't work?

The type of psychological coercion Manning experienced as part and parcel of his confinement these past months, the typical human being would find beyond endurance. It drives some mad, others to suicide and others merely capitulate to whatever their captor demands.
I would interpret Manning’s “plea” a cry for the torture to end…
Some “victory.”
By the way, this is for the adults in the room. Anyone familiar with any government agency/bureaucracy understands that “need-to-know/classified/top- secret/confidentiality/national security, etc.” are merely noble- & neutral-sounding labels a bureaucracy uses time and again to cover-up and hide from the taxpaying public incompetence, waste, negligence, fraud, and out-right criminality.
Anyone who saw the civilians assassinated by the military in the helicopter video released by wikileaks to the media and whose release is attributed to Manning clearly understands that whoever released this video is not just a whistle-blower but an authentic patriot.
Irony: the Commander in Chief, ultimately responsible for this bloodshed, got a Nobel Peace Prize. Manning, ends up in the brig. No further comment is needed.

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