A military judge trying Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, who allegedly leaked classified material, heard arguments that could result in the most serious charge against him, aiding the enemy, being dropped.
Manning faces life in prison without parole if convicted of aiding the enemy.
According to Reuters, defence lawyer David Coombs argued before judge Colonel Denise Lind that Manning was guilty of negligence but not of “general evil intent,” or of having knowledge the material would get to the enemy.
The court-martial prosecution said that Manning’s training as an intelligence officer was evidence that he knew the leaked information would be accessed by terrorists.
The defence wants the judge to dismiss the greater offense, whether he knowingly exceeded authorised access, punishable by a 10 year prison sentence if found guilty.
Its argument is that there is a distinction between access and use restrictions, acknowledging that Manning may have violated user restrictions which is not a breach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Lind will rule on the motions on Thursday.