FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — A military judge said she will rule Tuesday afternoon on a motion to dismiss all charges against an Army private charged with sending reams of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Col. Denise Lind's announcement came during a pretrial hearing Tuesday at Fort Meade for Pfc. Bradley Manning.
The 25-year-old intelligence analyst is trying to get the charges against him thrown out, arguing that the military held him in unduly punishing pretrial conditions for nine months after his 2010 arrest.
Jailers at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., have testified they considered Manning a suicide risk and that they were only trying to keep him from hurting himself and others by keeping him in a windowless, 6-by-8-foot cell for 23 hours a day.
Legal experts say the chances of dismissal are slim, but Manning could win extra credit for time served if he is ultimately convicted at a court-martial and sentenced to prison. He faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum of life behind bars.
Prosecutors conceded in December that Manning was improperly held on suicide watch for seven days and recommended he get seven days' credit at sentencing.
Manning is back at Fort Meade for a pretrial hearing that includes arguments on whether his motivation matters.
Prosecutors want the judge to bar the defense from producing evidence at Manning's March 6 trial regarding his motive for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of secret war logs and diplomatic cables. They say motive is irrelevant to whether he leaked intelligence, knowing it would be seen by al-Qaida
Manning allegedly told an online confidant-turned-informant that he leaked the material because "I want people to see the truth" and "information should be free."
Defense attorney David Coombs said Tuesday that barring such evidence would cripple the defense's ability to argue that Manning leaked only information that he believed couldn't hurt the United States or help a foreign nation.
Manning has offered to take responsibility for the leaks in a pending plea offer but he still could face trial on charges that include aiding the enemy.
The four-day hearing began Tuesday.
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