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Manning's max sentence cut, may only spend up to 90 years in the cooler

Well, better than 1,632 months the Wikileaking private was facing

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Bradley Manning's maximum possible sentence for publishing tens of thousands of American classified documents via Wikileaks has been reduced from 136 years to 90 years.

The military judge overseeing his trial agreed that some of the 20 charges on which the army private was found guilty last week were closely related and could be merged, reducing the overall potential sentence - but not to the 80 years the defence was hoping for.

Manning's lawyers had proposed combining the charges of theft of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, the computer fraud of State Department cables and the theft and transmission of the logs to Wikileaks.

Judge Colonel Denise Lind didn't agree, but she did combine both espionage charges for transmitting files from Iraq and Afghan, the theft and transmission of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Assessment Briefs and the theft and fraudulent downloading of the State Department cables along with those briefs, the Bradley Manning Support Network said.

Manning maintains he leaked the sensitive secret documents to spark debate about the US's foreign and military policy, and says he picked out things that wouldn't harm anyone or endanger national security.

But the Obama administration will present evidence to prove that his release of the classified material put lives at risk and threatened the country's national security. Major General Michael Nagata testified for the prosecution that the leaked State Department diplomatic cables affected US operations in Pakistan, but only gave the details behind closed doors because they involved classified information.

Manning is due to be sentenced later this year. ®

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