Final Arguments in PFC Manning’s Wikileaks Case
After a week of testimony, PFC 1st class Bradley Manning’s fate for now lies in the hands of a military officer who will determine if he should face a court martial for releasing more than 700,000 confidential government documents to Wikileaks.
The seven-day Article 32 hearing came to a close today after final arguments from both the defense and the prosecution. Although this hearing would not determine the guilt or innocence for Manning, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza’s recommendation will be sent to senior military officers who will determine whether the charges against Manning should proceed to a court martial.
A recommendation is expected to be made by Jan. 16, a date based on the right to a speedy trial. It is possible, however, that Almanza could request additional time because of the large amount of evidence.
In making his recommendation, Almanza will weigh the testimony presented this week, as well as more than 300,000 government pages of documents, chat logs and classified documents.
The defense began its brief closing arguments by asking Almanza to dismiss most of the charges against Manning, saying the government has “overcharged in this case.”
The most serious charge Manning faces is aiding the enemy; if he’s found guilty, it carries the death penalty. But prosecutors have said they will not request it and opt for a recommendation of life in prison.