FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — A military judge on Thursday accepted the terms under which an Army private would plead guilty to seven charges for sending classified documents to WikiLeaks. Later, the accused soldier testified that he felt like a doomed, caged animal after he was arrested in Baghdad.
Col. Denise Lind, the judge, ruled during the third day of a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade for Pfc. Bradley Manning.
The ruling doesn't mean the pleas have been formally accepted — that could happen in December — but Col. Lind approved the language of the offenses to which Pfc. Manning would admit.
She said those offenses carry a total maximum prison term of 16 years.
Pfc. Manning made the offer as a way of accepting responsibility for the leak. Government officials have not said whether they would continue prosecuting him for the other 15 counts he faces, including aiding the enemy. That offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Under the proposal, Pfc. Manning would admit to willfully sending the following material: a battlefield video file, some classified memos, more than 20 Iraq war logs, more than 20 Afghanistan war logs and other classified materials. He also would plead guilty to wrongfully storing classified information.
Meanwhile, Pfc. Manning's lawyers are arguing that the charges against the soldier should be dismissed because of what they call needlessly harsh treatment during his nine months of confinement in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va.
Before he was sent to Quantico in July 2010, Pfc. Manning spent weeks in a cell in a segregation tent at Camp Arifjan, an Army installation in Kuwait.
Pfc. Manning says he remembers thinking, "I'm going to die; I'm stuck inside this cage."
Other possible witnesses include a military psychiatrist who examined Pfc. Manning at Quantico and the former commander of the confinement facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to which Pfc. Manning later was moved.