After a three-year legal battle and months-long trial, former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was found not guilty on 30 July of the most serious charge he faced -- aiding the enemy.
Colonel Denise Lind, however, found him guilty of five other counts for violating the Espionage Act and five counts of theft.
The judge rejected the government's argument that Manning, simply by the nature of his training as an Army intelligence officer, had to assume that the information he leaked would likely reach Al-Qaeda operatives. But she ruled that Manning did have reason to believe that the leaks would harm the US, even if that was not his intention.
"This is a historic verdict," says Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University Law School. "Manning is one of very few people ever charged under the Espionage Act prosecutions for leaks to the media. The only other person who was convicted after trial was pardoned. Despite the lack of any evidence that he intended any harm to the United States, Manning faces decades in prison. That's a very scary precedent."
The aiding the enemy charge carried a possible life sentence. But even with that out of the way, Manning still faces a maximum sentence of more than 100 years for the guilty verdicts on other charges.