CRIME

Pfc. Bradley Manning, U.S. soldier accused in Wikileaks case, due in court

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FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - Military prosecutors say a U.S. Army private aided al-Qaida by leaking hundreds of thousands of military and other government documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

(Photo: Associated Press)

Pfc. Bradley Manning had been charged with aiding the enemy among a total of 22 counts, but on Thursday the military publicly identified the enemy Manning's actions aided. Manning and his attorneys are appearing at a hearing in a military courtroom at Fort Meade, near Baltimore, for two days of hearings in the case.

Military prosecutors say Manning, a 24-year-old Oklahoma native, downloaded and transferred to WikiLeaks nearly half a million sensitive battlefield reports. Defense lawyers say that Manning was a troubled soldier who shouldn't have had access to classified material and that the leaked material did little or no harm to national security.

A military judge is expected to set a firmer schedule this week. Military prosecutors say Manning, a 24-year-old Oklahoma native, downloaded and transferred to Wikileaks nearly half a million sensitive battlefield reports.

During Manning's last hearing, which lasted less than an hour, Manning declined to enter a plea to the 22 counts he faces, including aiding the enemy, which could result in life imprisonment.

He also put off choosing whether to be tried by a military jury or judge alone.

Manning could make those decisions Thursday or Friday, but could also wait until slightly before trial to choose a judge or jury and could enter a plea at the start of his trial.

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