Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., in a Tuesday, July 30, 2013 file photo, after receiving a verdict in his court martial. Manning's defense team is opening its case at the soldier's sentencing hearing. Defense attorney David Coombs says he expects to call the first of more than a dozen witnesses Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in the court-martial at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. He says Manning will give a statement before the defense rests on Wednesday. (AP Phot
FORT MEADE, Md. (WUSA9/AP) - Wednesday morning, a military judge sentenced former Army intelligence officer Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking troves of classified information to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. He also was dishonorably discharged and ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances.
Manning pleaded guilty to 10 separate offenses but the judge convicted Manning last month of 20 offenses, including six violations of the Espionage Act. He could have been sentenced to 90 years in prison.
Manning must serve at least a third of the prison sentence before he is eligible for parole. Manning has been behind bars for more than three years now and was granted credit towards his sentence time for his confinement. According to the U.S. Army Military District of Washington Public Affairs Office, "Presiding judge Col. Denise Lind, granted credit for time served of 1,182 days for pre-trial confinement and 112 days additional pre-trial confinement credit."
Prosecutors claimed Manning betrayed the United States and a harsh sentence would serve as a lesson to other soldiers. They asked for at least 60 years for leaking more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, including video of a botched helicopter raid in 2007 that killed civilians in Baghdad.
However, Manning's attorney said in closing arguments that perhaps his clients biggest crime was "that he cared about the loss of life and that he couldn't ignore it." The defense described the 25-year-old as compassionate and capable of being redeemed. They asked the judge for 25 years, a sentence that "would not rob him of his youth."
On Wednesday, the judge didn't say where Manning would serve his time, but a spokeswoman for the Military District of Washington said he would likely go to Fort Leavenworth, the only military prison for service members sentenced to 10 or more years of confinement. Located in Kansas, Fort Leavenworth is home to the American military's most famous prison. Inmates are highly restricted, graveyard work shifts are common and jobs pay just pennies per hour.
The spokeswoman says if space there is limited, military prisoners can be sent to a civilian federal prison.
Manning spent some time in Leavenworth previously.