WikiLeaks prosecutors accept plea
The US government will accept an army private's guilty plea to a lesser version of one of the 22 counts he faces for sending more than 700,000 classified US documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, a military prosecutor has said during a pre-trial hearing.
But prosecutors still will try to convict Pfc Bradley Manning at his trial next month of other serious offences, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum life sentence.
Army Major Ashden Fein told the military judge, Colonel Denise Lind, that prosecutors had changed their minds about trying to convict Manning of violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in connection with the release of a State Department cable known as Reykjavik-13.
WikiLeaks posted the cable in early 2010 about a meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, summarising US Embassy discussions with Icelandic officials about the country's financial troubles.
Manning has acknowledged sending the cable to WikiLeaks after he found it on a secure government computer network while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.
According to his courtroom confession on February 28, Manning believed the cable indicated the United States was refusing to help the Icelandic government "due to the lack of long-term geopolitical benefit".
The cable was the basis for a charge alleging violation of a federal law, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Manning pleaded guilty in February to lesser versions of that and other offences, acknowledging violations of military law that, in total, carry maximum prison term of 20 years.
Prosecutors said in March they would continue to seek conviction for the more serious offences.
Manning's trial is scheduled to begin on June 3.