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WikiLeaks Suspect Manning Defers On Plea

Bradley Manning is escorted from the courthouse at Fort Meade, Maryland, in December.
Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of sharing a trove of classified government documents with the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has been charged on 22 counts, but his lawyers deferred entering a plea until a later date.

The charges faced by the 24-year-old include aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Manning is accused of passing more than 700,000 military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks between November 2009 and May 2010, when he was serving in Iraq.

The leaks shed light on civilian deaths and created diplomatic tensions for the U.S. government, which said the release threatened national security.

Manning also deferred a choice of whether to be tried by a military jury or judge alone.

A trial date has not been set.

With AP, AFP, and dpa reporting

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