The website for the lawyer representing Bradley Manning, an Army enlisted man held without trial for two years in the Wikileaks case, says Manning has offered to plead guilty to some of the lesser charges he faces.
The website says:
PFC Manning has offered to plead guilty to various offenses through a process known as "pleading by exceptions and substitutions." To clarify, PFC Manning is not pleading guilty to the specifications as charged by the Government. Rather, PFC Manning is attempting to accept responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses. The Court will consider whether this is a permissible plea. Manning is not submitting a plea as part of an agreement or deal with the government.
The website of David Coombs, a former Army lawyer, also says Manning has requested that his case be handled by a military judge instead a panel of officers. Courthouse News Service spoke with Coombs, who told them the intent was more to "accept reponsibility" for the data reaching Wikileaks than to plead guilty.
Courthouse News Service also reported that the former judge in the case, Col. Carl Coffman, approved the government's requests for delays in the case month after month while doing nothing more than checking the punctuation and any possible typos in their motions.
“Like most supporters, I’ve backed Bradley Manning on the belief that he was the heroic whistle-blower in question,” explained Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “Now that Bradley appears to have acknowledged this in court, its reason to redouble efforts to support him leading up to his February court martial.”
The former military analyst faced numerous charges, up to aiding the enemy, which could carry the death penalty. The case is one of the major challenges facing the Obama Administration because it is seen as an example of the country's national security state coming down on a whistleblower who helped expose war crimes, including the shooting of civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.
He allegedly smuggled data out using music cases labeled Lady Gaga.
The military's decision to hold Manning in solitary much of time, occasionally forcing him to strip down to his underwear before he went to sleep, is seem as a form of torture.
Also, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Manning has the same rights to a speedy trial as do civilians under the U.S. Constitution.