- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning’s 35-year sentence for leaking classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks has been commuted by President Barack Obama to about seven years, including the time she spent locked up before she was convicted in 2013. Her sentence is now set to expire May 17.

Here’s a look at the key elements of the case:

WHAT WAS MANNING CONVICTED OF?

A judge convicted Manning, then known as Bradley, on July 30, 2013, of 20 counts, including six Espionage Act violations, theft and computer fraud. She was sentenced to 35 years out of a possible maximum of 90. She was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, which carries a possible life sentence.

WHAT DID MANNING DO?

The now 29-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., leaked more than 700,000 classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and diplomatic cables in 2010 while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad. Manning also leaked a 2007 video clip of a U.S. helicopter crew killing at least nine men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The Pentagon concluded the troops acted appropriately, having mistaken the camera equipment for weapons.

WHAT HARM DID THE PROSECUTORS’ EVIDENCE SHOW?

Government witnesses testified the leaks endangered people who were named as information sources, prompting the State Department to help some of them move, even to other countries, for their safety. Several ambassadors were recalled, expelled or reassigned because of embarrassing disclosures.

Prosecutors showed that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula used material from the Apache helicopter attack in a propaganda video. Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden obtained and presumably read some of the leaked documents, the evidence showed.

WHAT WERE THE DEFENSE’S PRINCIPAL ARGUMENTS?

The defense produced evidence that the Army disregarded Manning’s emotional turmoil over her gender identity and isolation in a military that barred homosexuals from serving openly. The day after she was sentenced, Manning announced in a statement that she was a woman named Chelsea and demanded hormone therapy, which the Army eventually approved.

WHY DID SHE DO IT?

Manning said she leaked the material to expose the U.S military’s “bloodlust” and disregard for human life, and what she considered American diplomatic duplicity. She said she chose information she believed would not harm the United States. After her conviction, she apologized for unintentionally causing harm, but not for revealing U.S. secrets.

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF ANY APPEAL?

Manning’s lawyers filed an appeal of the court-martial findings in May to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Court Clerk Malcom H. Squires Jr. said Tuesday he didn’t know how the commutation of Manning’s sentence could affect the appeals process. Further appeals can be made to the military’s highest court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the U.S. Supreme Court.

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