Bradley Manning has been acquitted of aiding the enemy for disclosing secret documents to WikiLeaks.
Judge Col. Denise Lind found Manning not guilty of the most serious charges of aiding the enemy, but did find him guilty of violating the espionage act on multiple counts. Manning still faces up to 154 years in prison for the charges against him.
The argument that likely led to the acquittal was that if Manning intended to aid the enemy, he would have sold the information to them directly rather than to WikiLeaks.
Prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein argued earlier that Manning had shown “general evil intent” with his leaks. “He acted voluntarily and deliberately with his disclosures. He was not a whistleblower. He was a traitor,” Fein said.
The prosecution argued that the documents had a monetary value to foreign governments needing the intelligence. They valued the data leaked from an Afghanistan database at $1.3 million and data from an Iraq database at $1.9 million.
Some of the documents leaked by Manning suggest that US military officials in Iraq ignored evidence of abuse, torture, rape and murder by the Iraqi authorities. The documents also reveal how “hundreds” of civilians were killed at US military checkpoints after the invasion in 2003.
More US military records posted on the Wikileaks website dealt with the war in Afghanistan. They revealed unreported daily incidents of violence and criminality, including intimidation by the Taliban, corruption and drugs trade.
Manning is expected to be sentenced Wednesday. His supporters remain watching outside the court.