The Norman Transcript

State/Region

November 9, 2012

Army private offers lesser plea in WikiLeaks case

FORT MEADE, Md. — A U.S. Army private charged with sending mountains of classified documents to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks has offered to plead guilty to reduced charges in a move that military justice experts on Thursday called surprising and potentially pointless.

The unilateral offer, if accepted by the military judge, would still leave the government free to prosecute Pfc. Bradley Manning on the original 22 counts, including aiding the enemy. That means even with the plea offer, he could still face life in prison.

Prosecutors could choose not to put Manning on trial for those more serious charges, but “I find it hard to imagine that happening in this case,” said Eugene Fidell, a former Coast Guard judge advocate who teaches military law at Yale. “The government has had a very long time to conduct extensive investigations and presumably has its evidence ready to roll.”

The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, didn’t say when she would rule on the offer that defense attorney David Coombs revealed Wednesday during a pretrial hearing. Manning would acknowledge he sent WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and State Department diplomatic cables, but wouldn’t plead guilty to aiding the enemy or to violations of federal espionage and computer laws.

It is the first indication that the 24-year-old intelligence analyst will publicly acknowledge he leaked the records. The government regards the leak as a national security breach. But anti-secrecy advocates, including Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, say Manning is a hero. He has been in custody since his arrest in Iraq in May 2010. He is currently in pretrial confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Coombs also said Wednesday that Manning has chosen to be tried by a military judge, not a jury. His six-week trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 4.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Board votes to delay plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Sentencing delayed for Oklahoma tea party leader

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Formal sentencing for the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party on felony blackmail and computer crimes convictions has been delayed....

    July 23, 2014

  • Heat advisory issued for much of Oklahoma

    TULSA — The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through late today for much of the state as stifling heat and humidity continue to affect Oklahoma this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • 34 OSBI agents graduate investigative academy

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirty-four agents are graduating from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Advanced Investigative Academy....

    July 23, 2014

  • Okla. legislator doctor wants minors quarantined

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined....

    July 23, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Highway Patrol sees spike in number of applicants

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Two bills that passed the Legislature this past spring have sparked an increase in the number of applicants to join the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, officials said....

    July 20, 2014

  • 1M visit Okla. parks

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new report from the National Parks Service shows that more than 1 million people visited Oklahoma’s national parks in 2013 and spent $17.2 million. Oklahoma has thee national parks: Washita Battlefield National Historic ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Unemployment rate falls to 4.5 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.5 percent in June. The figures released Friday by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission show that while the number of Oklahomans without a ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Gay Marriage Oklahoma Court reverses ban on gay marriage

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal appeals court rulied Friday that Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, spurring celebration among gay rights activists but sparking sharp anger among Republican leaders in a conservative state that ...

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo