Various news reports, particularly this AP story and this article on Wired.com, reveal that PFC Manning’s defense team sought judicial approval of proposed guilty pleas by exceptions and substitutions to a total of 7 “charges” (I assume this means specifications) carrying a maximum punishment of 16 years.
Under the plea proposal, Manning would admit to giving WikiLeaks a battlefield video file, which WikiLeaks published under the title “Collateral Murder,” as well as some classified memos, more than 20 Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and other classified materials, according to AP. He would also plead guilty to wrongfully storing classified information.
The military judge, COL Lind, approved the proposed language. Notably, PFC Manning has elected to be tried by military judge alone.
The plea is what we call “a naked plea,” meaning there is no agreement with the Government, and the timing is a little curious considering the continuing litigation of the conditions of pretrial confinement and the requested remedy of dismissal of all charges.
Then there’s this quote from a military justice heavyweight:
The plea offer, if accepted, could shorten the trial if the government wouldn’t have to spend time proving Manning actually leaked the documents, said Washington attorney Michael Navarre, a Navy judge advocate and adviser to the National Institute of Military Justice.
Navarre said a guilty plea could also lead the judge or sentencing jury to view Manning in a favorable light.
“One of the goals of accepting responsibility is to curry favor,” Navarre said.
Reminds me of this:
Valerie: Bye bye, boys!
Max: Have fun storming the castle!
Valerie: Think it will work?
Max: It would take a miracle.
Max and Valerie: B-bye!