Pfc. Bradley Manning, 25, is a quiet cross-dresser who wears lipstick and a long-haired blond wig, a photograph released by the Army during his court martial hearing revealed.
The photo was apparently sent by Manning to a master sergeant as a means of explaining his sexual identity issues, the same issues defense attorneys are now trying to argue as the cause of the soldier’s betrayal of the nation, The New York Post reported.
In court on Wednesday, attorneys for Manning pleaded for the judge to grant him leniency. Manning faces up to 90 years in federal prison for sending more than 700,000 sensitive military documents to WikiLeaks for posting and publication. Manning was found guilty of 20 charges, including espionage and theft, in late July.
At his court martial hearing, one psychiatrist for the defense testified that Manning, who is gay, has “gender dysphoria,” and wants to be a woman, The Post reported.
Manning tried to describe his anguish over his gender confusion in an email to Master Sgt. Paul Adkins in April of 2010, complete with the attached photo of himself in woman’s dress. The subject title of that email, The Post reported: “My Problem.”
Sgt. Adkins testified that he didn’t send the photo to superiors because he thought Manning was addressing the issue with counselors. He also said: “I really didn’t think at the time that having a picture floating around of one of my soldiers in drag was in [his] best interests.”
Another military official testified that Manning’s deployment in Iraq was unduly stressful for him because of the “hyper-masculine environment,” and that he suffers from narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder, The Post reported.
Manning also took the stand on Wednesday. He apologized, and said, “I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States. The last few years have been a learning experience. … I want to be a better person, to go to college, to get a degree and to have a meaningful relationship with my sister and her family.”
• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at email@example.com.
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