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Fort Drum soldier accused in Wikileaks case offers guilty plea to lesser charges

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FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — The U.S. Army private charged with sending reams of government secrets to WikiLeaks is offering to plead guilty to some lesser offenses.

Pfc. Bradley Manning’s civilian defense attorney, David Coombs, revealed the offer Wednesday during a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade. The hearing continues Thursday.

Pfc. Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents and video to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.org. He was attached to the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, before being deployed as an intelligence analyst to Iraq, where he allegedly committed the offenses.

Coombs says Manning isn’t pleading guilty to the offenses charged by the government. Rather, he’s offering to plead to less serious offenses that make up part of some of the more serious charges against him.

Even if the court accepts the offer, military prosecutors could still try to prove Manning guilty of the more serious charges. They include aiding the enemy, punishable by life imprisonment.

Coombs also says Manning has elected to be tried by a military judge, not a jury, in February.

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