FORT MEADE — An Army private accused of spilling a mountain of U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks is being asked for the first time to enter a plea to the charges.
The arraignment of Pfc. Bradley Manning begins Thursday afternoon at Fort Meade near Baltimore.
Officials say Manning also will be asked whether he wants to be tried by a judge or a jury.
The 24-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., faces 22 counts, including aiding the enemy. That charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Manning has been locked up since May 2010. He allegedly gave the anti-secrecy WikiLeaks website more than 700,000 classified documents and video clips while working in Iraq.
Defense lawyers say Manning was a troubled soldier who shouldn’t have had access to classified material.