Pfc. Bradley E. Manning is escorted from a hearing, on January 8, 2013 in Fort Meade, Maryland (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - The trial of an Army private charged with giving classified information to the WikiLeaks website may hinge on whether he had reason to believe his actions could be harmful.
A military judge made a pretrial ruling Wednesday about what prosecutors have to prove to convict Pfc. Bradley Manning of the most serious charge he faces. He's accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports and State Department cables while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.
The most serious charge is aiding the enemy. Col. Denise Lind ruled that for Manning to be convicted of that offense, prosecutors must prove he had reason to believe the leaked material could be used to harm the United States or help a foreign power.
Defense attorneys can present evidence Manning selectively leaked information that he believed would not be harmful to U.S. interests.