Manning supporters welcome acquittal on most serious charge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supporters of Bradley Manning appear to be relieved that the former Army intelligence analyst was acquitted on the most serious charge against him — aiding the enemy — which would have carried a potential life sentence.

They greeted Manning’s lawyer with a round of applause and shouts of “thank you” outside the courtroom today. But they also pressed him on what the verdict means for Manning’s fate.

Attorney David Coombs replied, “Today is a good day,” but he added that Manning “is by no means out of the fire.”

In Washington, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee welcomed Manning’s convictions on charges that could bring 136 years in prison. Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan tweeted that “justice was served today,” and that Manning is a “criminal” who violated public trust and harmed the nation’s security.

No matter the verdict, one German lawmaker with the opposition Green Party tweeted that Manning had “won respect” by uncovering what the lawmaker called the “murderous warfare in Iraq” carried out by the United States.

%@AP Links

197-v-35-(David Melendy, AP correspondent)–Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been acquitted of aiding the enemy for giving secrets to WikiLeaks. AP correspondent David Melendy reports. ((replaces cut 186)) (30 Jul 2013)

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GRAPHICSBANK: BRADLEY MANNING headshot, US soldier accused of leaking classified material to the Wikileaks website, Fort Meade, Maryland, with VERDICT lettering, finished graphic (30 Jul 2013)

APPHOTO MDPS112: In this courtroom sketch, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, third from left, stands with lead defense attorney David Coombs, center, and his defense team as Army Col. Denise Lind, right, who is presiding over the trial, reads her verdict during a hearing in a courtroom in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge he faced — but was convicted of espionage, theft and other charges, more than three years after he spilled secrets to WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/William Hennessy) NO TV, NO ARCHIVE, NO SALES, LOCALS OUT (30 Jul 2013)

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APPHOTO MDPS114: David Coombs, lead defense attorney for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, walks out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, July 30, 2013, after receiving a verdict in Manning’s court martial. Manning was acquitted of aiding the enem, the most serious charge he faced, but was convicted of espionage, theft and other charges, more than three years after he spilled secrets to WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (30 Jul 2013)

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