August 21, 2013

warcrimesThe lead attorney for Army Private first class Bradley Manning told the media on Wednesday that he’ll begin asking US President Barack Obama to pardon his client as early as next week.

Three hours after a military judge sentenced Pfc. Manning to 35 years in prison for disclosing sensitive government documents, attorney David Coombs said the appeals process will begin in a matter of days.

“I will file a request,” Coombs said in a Wednesday afternoon presser, “a request that the president pardon Pfc. Manning, or at the very least commute his sentence to time served.”

That request, Coombs said, includes in part a statement from Manning himself.

“I understand that my actions violated the law,” Coombs read the soldier’s statement. “I regret that my actions hurt or harmed the US. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people.”

Pfc. Manning and his counsel will ask the White House to remove the 35-year sentence handed down early Wednesday by Army Col. Denise Lind at a courthouse in Ft. Meade, Maryland. Should that request be refused, however, Manning wrote, “I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price for living in a free society.”

U.S. soldier Bradley Manning’s defense attorney David Coombs speaks during a news conference in Hanover, Maryland, following the sentencing of Manning at nearby Fort Meade August 21, 2013.(Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

The solder also said in his statement that he chose to disclose classified material to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks “out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in.”
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