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Judge in Bradley Manning Case Reduces Accused WikiLeaker's Potential Sentence by 16 Weeks

Alex Wong/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- The judge in the case against PFC Bradley Manning has ruled that the conditions of his pre-trial confinement at the Marine Brig in Quantico, Va., was “more rigorous than necessary” and “excessive."  She has granted him a 112-day sentencing credit, which equates to 16 weeks, if he is convicted.   
At Fort Meade Tuesday, Col. Denise Lind refused to dismiss the case against Manning’s trial as his attorneys had requested.  The pre-trial motions hearing, where Manning made his first public comments, was intended to prove that his treatment at Quantico was unlawful and merited the dismissal of the case against Manning.  The realistic expectation had been that Lind wouldn’t agree to that but would likely give him some credit for time served, and that’s exactly what happened Tuesday.
Manning was detained at Quantico from July 2010 to April 2011 after being transferred from Kuwait.  During a pre-trial motions hearing in late November, Manning’s attorneys detailed how he had been kept unnecessarily on extended suicide and prevention of injury watches.  As part of those watches he was confined to a cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing.  These conditions persisted for months even though his psychiatrists said they weren’t necessary.
Lind reportedly said Tuesday that Quantico officials didn’t intend to punish Manning by subjecting him to those restrictions, but rather to ensure his safety and security.
During the pre-trial hearing in November the judge accepted a request by Manning’s attorney to possibly work out a plea deal for seven lesser charges of the 22 he faces.  If he decides to do so he’d face 16 years in prison for pleading guilty to those charges, but still face trial for the remaining charges against him.

Manning’s trial is slated to start March 6.
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