Last week saw several new developments in the Bradley Manning case. Prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they intend to offer evidence that Osama bin Laden received some of the classified information that Manning allegedly provided to WikiLeaks. The government, relying in part on a Civil War precedent, plans to use the evidence to support a charge of aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. More information is available here, here, and here.
The other big news was the judge’s decision to grant Manning a 112-day reduction from his possible prison sentence because of mistreatment while in custody (Manning’s allegations are detailed in his motion to dismiss for unlawful pretrial punishment). Given the serious charges that Manning faces, this reduction is likely to be mostly symbolic. The defense had asked for dismissal of all charges or credit on a ten-to-one basis for time served in harsh conditions.
Several important rulings are expected over the next few weeks. The court heard arguments last Tuesday on the prosecution’s motions to prohibit the defense from discussing Manning’s motive for the leaks or possible overclassificaiton of the information. This week, the court is scheduled to hear arguments on Manning’s motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial. The trial itself has been postponed until June 3 to allow the judge to determine which classified information may be considered at trial.