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Also Thursday, the military judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, accepted the terms under which Manning may plead guilty to eight of the 22 charges he faces. Coombs revealed the plea offer in early November, saying it would enable Manning to take responsibility for sending U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks.

Lind hasn’t formally accepted the pleas but has indicated she will consider them at a hearing starting Dec. 10.

Under the offer, Manning would plead guilty to certain charges as violations of military regulations rather than as violations of federal espionage and computer security laws. The offenses would then carry maximum prison terms totaling 16 years rather than 72.

The pleas would include admissions that Manning sent WikiLeaks classified memos, Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, Guantanamo Bay prison records and a 2007 video clip of a U.S. helicopter crew gunning down 11 men later found to have included a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The video, titled “Collateral Murder” on WikiLeaks, garnered worldwide attention. The Pentagon concluded the troops acted appropriately during the attack, having mistaken the camera equipment for weapons.

The government could still prosecute Manning for all 22 counts he faces, including aiding the enemy. That offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Manning is accused of engineering the biggest leak of classified material in U.S. history. Besides the video, he is charged with sending hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.