An Oakland-based group that supports former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning is holding a rally in San Francisco this evening to celebrate the not-guilty verdict handed down earlier today on a key charge in his espionage trial.
Manning, who was accused of leaking classified information to the online group WikiLeaks, was found not guilty in military court of aiding the enemy, but was convicted of more than a dozen other counts including violating the Espionage Act and stealing government property.
The aiding the enemy charge would have included a life sentence, although Manning still faces a possible sentence of more than 100 years in prison for the other charges, said Jeff Paterson, project director at Oakland-based Courage to Resist, which has supported Manning and other military resisters.
Paterson is among dozens of people expected to attend today’s 5 p.m. rally at Powell and Market streets in San Francisco.
“We’re delighted that the aiding the enemy charge was thrown out,” he said. “It’s a great victory for us.”
The sentencing phase of the case begins Wednesday, and Paterson said his group is calling on the military court to release Manning with credit for time served rather than issue a stiff sentence.
Paterson said he expects Manning to take the stand during the hearing to “explain what his motives were,” while his defense attorneys “can argue the positive impacts the release of this information had on the general public.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News