Fort Meade, Maryland: Lawyers for the US soldier who leaked thousands of classified government documents urged a judge on Monday to dismiss a charge he aided the enemy, saying prosecutors failed to prove Bradley Manning intended for the information to fall into enemy hands.
The charge is the most serious and carries the most severe punishment - life in prison - in the case against Manning, who has admitted he sent hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks.
The trial against the 25-year-old is drawing to a close, and a judge is weighing whether to dismiss that charge and several lesser counts.
Manning downloaded the material in 2009 and 2010 from a classified government computer network while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. WikiLeaks posted much of the material on its website.
Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, argued that his client could have sold the documents, which included battlefield reports and State Department diplomatic cables, or given them directly to the enemy. Instead, he gave them to WikiLeaks in an attempt to "spark reform" and provoke debate. He said Manning had no way of knowing whether al-Qaida would access the website and said a military report from 2008 showed the government didn't even know.
Coombs also argued that the aiding the enemy charge requires Manning had "evil intent" in leaking the documents, which he said the government did not prove.
The government has said Manning indirectly aided the enemy by allowing for the information to be posted online. Prosecutors say he had received sophisticated computer training and would have understood that al-Qaida could have seen it.
The defense rested its case last week. The military judge said she would rule Thursday on whether to acquit Manning of the aiding the enemy charge and several lesser counts.