Bradley Manning Supporters Gather to Celebrate Verdict - NBC Bay Area

Bradley Manning Supporters Gather to Celebrate Verdict



    Bradley Manning Supporters Gather to Celebrate Verdict
    FILE - In this June 25, 2012 file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, right, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

    An Oakland-based group that supports former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning is holding a rally in San Francisco to celebrate the not-guilty verdict handed down Tuesday on a key charge  in his espionage trial.

    Manning, who was accused of leaking classified information to the  online group WikiLeaks, was found not guilty in military court of aiding the enemy, but was convicted of more than a dozen other counts including violating the Espionage Act and stealing government property.
    The aiding the enemy charge would have included a life sentence, although Manning still faces a possible sentence of more than 100 years in prison for the other charges, said Jeff Paterson, project director at  Oakland-based Courage to Resist, which has supported Manning and other military resisters.
    Paterson is among dozens of people expected to attend Tuesday's 5  p.m. rally at Powell and Market streets in San Francisco. "We're delighted that the aiding the enemy charge was thrown out,"  he said. "It's a great victory for us."
    The sentencing phase of the case begins Wednesday, and Paterson  said his group is calling on the military court to release Manning with credit for time served rather than issue a stiff sentence.  Paterson said he expects Manning to take the stand during the  hearing to "explain what his motives were," while his defense attorneys "can  argue the positive impacts the release of this information had on the general  public."