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AP National

July 26, 2013

Defense attorney: Bradley Manning a whistleblower

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — A defense attorney for Pfc. Bradley Manning says the soldier is a whistleblower who wanted the American public to know about the awful things he saw as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Attorney David Coombs delivered his closing arguments Friday in Manning's court-martial. Manning is charged with 21 offenses, but the most serious is aiding the enemy. That charges carries a possible sentence of up to life in prison.

Prosecutors gave their closing arguments Thursday. They said Manning was a traitor whose only mission was to find and reveal government secrets to WikiLeaks, then bask in the attention as a whistleblower.

A judge, not a jury is hearing the case at Manning's request. She could begin her deliberations Friday but it's not clear exactly when she will rule.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The defense gets the chance Friday to sum up its case in the court-martial of Bradley Manning, the Army private who sent hundreds of thousands of U.S. government documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

Manning's civilian defense attorney David Coombs was scheduled to give his closing argument in the eighth week of the trial at the Fort Meade Army base outside Baltimore. The case will then go to the judge for deliberations, who has said she could rule anytime in the next several days.

"Tomorrow, you're going to hear what truth sounds like," Coombs told supporters Thursday night after a lengthy and bruising final argument by the prosecution.

Speaking for more than five hours Thursday, with several breaks through the day for people to use the bathrooms and eat lunch, Maj. Ashden Fein told the court Manning was a traitor with one mission as an intelligence analyst deployed in Iraq in 2009 and 2010: to find and reveal government secrets to a group of anarchists, then bask in the glory as a whistleblower.

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