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Verdict in Bradley Manning Case to Be Announced Tuesday

Alex Wong/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) --  The judge in the in the Bradley Manning court martial said Monday that she will announce a verdict in the case Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET.

Alleged to have leaked 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, the Army private faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

The court martial held at Fort Meade, Md., concluded on Friday following closing arguments that spanned two days.

Prosecutors argued Manning knew that by releasing the documents they would end up in the hands of al Qaeda.

Manning’s attorneys argued that Manning was a young, naive, well-intentioned soldier who wanted the released documents to spark debate about U.S. foreign policy.

Col. Denise Lind began deliberations in the case on Friday evening after closing arguments in the case concluded.

She continued deliberations over the weekend, calling the court to order for very brief sessions before proceeding into her chambers.

At noon Monday, Lind called the court into session and made a brief announcement that she had tentatively scheduled the announcement of a verdict for Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET.

The most serious charge against Manning is aiding the enemy, which carries a sentence of life in a military prison.   The prosecution had to clear the significant hurdle of trying to prove that Manning displayed “general evil intent” in releasing the documents to WikiLeaks and, ultimately, to al Qaeda.

In February, Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 charges.  Pleading guilty to those lesser charges carried as many as 20 years in a military jail.

There was no jury in this case because Manning requested a trial by judge instead of by a military jury.

Prior to beginning her deliberations, Lind said the sentencing phase of the trial would begin on Wednesday, July 31.

According to Twitter messages from several Manning supporters on hand for Monday’s proceedings, defense attorney David Coombs spoke with them about what might happen after the verdict.

Coombs reportedly said that, given the number of witnesses to be called by both the prosecution and defense, the sentencing phase might last into August.

Coombs said that if Manning is convicted of aiding the enemy, he intends to file appeals with the military appeals courts, a process that could take several years.  Ultimately, he believes Manning’s case could end up with the Supreme Court.

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