Following last week’s end of testimony, both sides Pfc. Bradley Manning court-martial were scheduled to deliver their closing arguments at Fort Meade, Md. today.
Before the arguments can begin, the judge presiding over the case must rule on the defense’s motion to acquit Manning of five counts of theft on his list of nearly two dozen charges. His defense has request multiple times since his indictment to drop the charge of aiding the enemy, but so far Manning still faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
The charges stem from a 2009 leak of hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports, cables and other documents to the open secrets website WikiLeaks. Manning and his attorneys have repeatedly argued that Manning only meant to expose war crimes by the United States, and did not consider that the information leak could help al-Qaida.
On July 19, former Spc. Jihrleah Showman — a colleague of Manning’s in Iraq — testified on behalf of the prosecution that Manning expressed to her that he felt no loyalty to his country.
“I tapped the flag on my shoulder and asked him what it meant,” she testified. “He said the flag meant nothing to him and he did not consider himself to have allegiance to this country or any people.”
On cross-examination, Manning’s defense attorney asked Showman why she hadn’t reported Manning’s behavior to their chain of command. Showman said that she had verbally reported the comments to her supervisor, but retired Sgt. 1st Class Paul Adkins testified that he didn’t remember such a conversation.