Military judge Col. Denise Lind Thursday refused to dismiss a charge that an Army private aided the enemy by giving reams of classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. This is the most serious charge that Pfc. Bradley Manning faces at his court-martial and is punishable by up to life in prison without parole. Lind also refused to dismiss a computer fraud count, ruling that the government had presented some evidence to support each element of the charges.
Under the United States Rules for Court-Martial, a military judge must view all evidence for motions for finding of not guilty “in the light most favorable to the prosecution,” which Lind cited in her decision. To convict Manning, the government must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt; however, they had to meet a less stringent standard in convincing Lind that the charges should stand, The Associated Press reports.
Lind is still considering defense motions to acquit Manning of five theft counts.
The 25-year-old has pled guilty to reduced versions of some of the charges against him and faces up to 20 years in prison for those offenses. He has admitted giving WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department diplomatic cables, along with battlefield videos and other documents.