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Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in WikiLeaks case

  • Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, before a sentencing hearing in his court martial. The military judge overseeing Manning's trial sentenced Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

FORT MEADE, Md. — Army Pfc. Bradley Manning stood at attention in his crisp dress uniform Wednesday and learned the price he will pay for spilling an unprecedented trove of government secrets: up to 35 years in prison, the stiffest punishment ever handed out in the U.S. for leaking to the media.

Flanked by his lawyers, Manning, 25, showed no reaction as military judge Col. Denise Lind announced the sentence without explanation in a proceeding that lasted just a few minutes.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning stood at attention in his crisp dress uniform Wednesday and learned the price he will pay for spilling an unprecedented trove of government secrets: up to 35 years in prison, the stiffest punishment ever handed out in the U.S. for leaking to the media.

Flanked by his lawyers, Manning, 25, showed no reaction as military judge Col. Denise Lind announced the sentence without explanation in a proceeding that lasted just a few minutes.

A gasp could be heard among the spectators, and one woman buried her face in her hands. Then, as guards hurried Manning out of the courtroom, about a half-dozen supporters shouted from the back: "We'll keep fighting for you, Bradley!" and "You're our hero!"

With good behavior and credit for the more than three years he has been held, Manning could be out in as little as seven years, said his lawyer, David Coombs. The soldier was also demoted and will be dishonorably discharged.

The sentencing fired up the long-running debate over whether Manning was a whistleblower or a traitor for giving more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents, plus battlefield footage, to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. By volume alone, it was the biggest leak of classified material in U.S. history, bigger even than the Pentagon Papers a generation ago.

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