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Closing arguments begin in WikiLeaks case

FORT MEADE — The preliminary hearing for an Army intelligence analyst accused of creating the biggest national security leak in U.S. history is winding down with closing arguments.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys make their closings Thursday on the seventh day of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s hearing. Presiding officer Lt. Col. Paul Almanza then will have until Jan. 16 to recommend whether the Crescent, Okla., native should stand trial for aiding the enemy and 21 other charges.

Military officials say Almanza’s timeline could be extended, and there is no deadline for a final decision by Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, commander of the Military District of Washington.

The standard of proof is whether reasonable grounds exist to believe Manning committed the alleged offenses.