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WikiLeaks suspect loses bid to drop charges

(AFP)
Filed on June 8, 2012

A military judge rejected Friday a petition by the US soldier accused of spilling a trove of US intelligence secrets to the WikiLeaks website to dismiss some of the charges against him.

Judge Denise Lind denied defense motions to dismiss eight of 22 charges against Army Private First Class Bradley Manning.

The judge rejected defense claims that the charges of unauthorized possession and disclosure of classified information were “unconstitutionally vague.”

On the third and final day of preliminary hearings, Lind was also considering a bid by the defense to drop two additional charges that Manning exceeded his authorization to use a Defense Department intranet system.

“Every person who has downloaded a music, a video, a game has exceeded its authorized access,” Manning’s civil attorney David Coombs told the court on Thursday.

Lind also said the court-martial trial, which had been scheduled for September 21, would be pushed back either to November or January. Another hearing in the case was set for June 25.

Manning, 24, could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of aiding the enemy by handing hundreds of thousands of classified documents — including military logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and sensitive diplomatic cables — to the WikiLeaks website.

The leak triggered a diplomatic firestorm that left US officials red-faced over criticism of both allies and foes.





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