Next Up for Bradley Manning: Sentencing

Next phase starts today, could take weeks
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2013 7:25 AM CDT
Updated Jul 31, 2013 7:59 AM CDT
What's Next for Bradley Manning
In this July 30, 2013 file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md. after receiving a verdict in his court martial.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Now that Bradley Manning has been convicted on 20 of 22 counts, his court-martial moves on to the sentencing phase today. Neither side was allowed to present evidence during the trial regarding Manning's motives or any actual damage caused by his leaks (harm to national security or US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example), but starting today, the judge will hear those arguments. Manning himself may even take the stand. "You're balancing [motive and harm] to determine what would be an appropriate sentence," a retired Army colonel and former judge advocate tells the AP. "I think it's likely that he's going to be in jail for a very long time." Manning faces up to 136 years in prison, and the Telegraph reports that it could be weeks before he is sentenced.

Federal authorities are also looking into the possibility of prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Assange's attorney warned after Manning's conviction that it made Assange's own prosecution more likely. Civil liberties groups agree, the Washington Post reports, and press freedom advocates are concerned the conviction will deter other would-be whistleblowers. And as for those who have already blown the whistle, well ... "I don't think Edward Snowden is doing a jig in his airport lounge in Russia," one legal scholar tells the AP. Other experts agree that Manning's conviction is bad news for Snowden. Meanwhile, the New York Times today looks at Manning—describing a "loner" who struggled with his sexuality and gender identity after a difficult childhood—and why he did what he did. (Read more Bradley Manning stories.)

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