Manning trial judge hearing dismissal arguments

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — Lawyers on Monday began arguments on whether an Army private who gave government secrets to WikiLeaks should be acquitted of some charges due to a lack of incriminating evidence.

The defense and prosecutors in the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning began oral arguments Monday afternoon on defense motions to acquit the soldier of the most serious charge — aiding the enemy — and six lesser charges.

Manning chose a judge, rather than jury for his court martial and the judge Col. Denise Lind, said Monday that she plans to rule Thursday on the motion regarding the aiding the enemy charge.

Manning’s court-martial is drawing to a close at the Army’s Fort Meade, a base outside Baltimore. The defense rested its case last week.

Manning has acknowledged leaking hundreds of thousands of military and State Department documents to the anti-secrecy website to expose what he considered wrongdoing. The government has sought to prove his actions harmed national security.

Hours before Monday’s hearing started, more than two dozen supporters stood in 90-degree temperatures outside the entrance to the military base holding signs that read “Release Bradley Manning,” ”We love Bradley.”

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