Bradley Manning submits partially-guilty plea in WikiLeaks case
US army private Bradley Manning has asked the court to accept a partially guilty plea that takes responsibility for leaking government documents to WikiLeaks.
Manning’s lawyer David Coombs said on his blog that Manning was willing to plead “by exceptions and substitutions”, where he doesn’t admit he’s guilty of the specific charges from the government, but he accepts responsibility for certain offences within the charges.
Coombs said that Manning wasn’t doing this as part of any kind of plea bargain or deal with the government, but off his own back.
The government doesn’t have to accept the plea even if the court decides it’s legally permissible. Opposition lawyers can still try to prove the full depth of the charges and look for the full force of the law. If Manning is found guilty of the charges as they stand, he could face the death penalty.
Making a plea now could get Manning off on the more serious charges by accepting lesser offences, if the government is willing to let it go at that. The more serious charges include “aiding the enemy” by leaking the documents to the whistle blowing site.
Manning is facing a court martial over the document leak and has asked to be tried by a military judge alone, rather than a jury, at his trial in February. ®