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Judge to rule Tuesday on defense motion to dismiss in WikiLeaks case

FORT MEADE — A military judge said she will rule later Tuesday on a motion to dismiss all charges against an Army private charged with sending reams of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.

bradley manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning

Col. Denise Lind’s announcement came during a pretrial hearing Tuesday at Fort Meade for Pfc. Bradley Manning.

The 24-year-old former Army intelligence analyst is trying to get the charges against him thrown out, arguing that the military held him in unduly harsh conditions for nine months to punish him after his 2010 arrest.

The Pentagon has said that Manning was a suicide risk and that it was only trying to keep him from hurting himself and others when it confined him to a windowless, 6-by-8-foot cell in the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia, for 23 hours a day.

Legal experts say the chances of the case being thrown out are slim, but Manning could win extra credit for the time he has served if he is ultimately convicted at a court martial and sentenced to prison. He faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum of life behind bars.

Manning is back at Fort Meade for a pretrial hearing about whether his motivation matters.

Prosecutors want the military judge to bar the defense from producing evidence at Manning’s March 6 trial regarding his motive for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of secret war logs and diplomatic cables. The four-day hearing began Tuesday.

Manning allegedly told an online confidant he leaked the material because he wanted people to see the truth. He has offered to take responsibility in a pending plea offer. But he still could face trial on charges that include aiding the enemy.

Prosecutors say Manning’s motive is irrelevant to whether he leaked the material knowing it would be seen by al-Qaida.

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