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Defense seeks merger of some Manning verdicts

9:29 AM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
Pfc. Bradley Manning (AP)
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FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - Lawyers for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning are seeking to reduce his potential sentence by having some of his convictions merged.

The motions were revealed as the sentencing phase of Manning's court-martial began Wednesday at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. The sentencing hearing is scheduled through Aug. 23.

The motions seek to merge two of the six espionage counts and two of the five theft counts of which Manning was convicted Tuesday. All of the counts involve Manning's leak of Afghanistan and Iraq battlefield reports.

If the judge agrees to merge the counts, it would mean Manning faces up to 116 years in prison instead of 136 years.

The 470,000 reports were contained in two separate databases but contained similar material.

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