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Defense lawyer: Gay Pfc. Bradley Manning wanted to enlighten United States about war

BY DAVID DISHNEAU AND PAULINE JELINEK
ASSOCIATED PRESS

FORT MEADE, Md. -- Sitting almost motionless, Pfc. Bradley Manning listened to his attorney argue that the soldier was young and naive and only wanted to enlighten the public about the bitter reality of America's wars when he gave a massive amount of classified material to WikiLeaks.

Prosecutors, though, contend the 25-year-old Army intelligence analyst effectively put U.S. military secrets into the hands of the enemy, including Osama bin Laden, and they want to send Manning to prison for the rest of his life.

Manning's military trial at Fort Meade outside Baltimore resumes Tuesday, with prosecutors expected to call an expert to testify about evidence found on computers used by Manning in Iraq. During opening statements Monday, defense attorney David Coombs said Manning's struggle to fit in as a gay man in the military made him feel he "needed to do something to make a difference in this world."

Manning has admitted turning over hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, pleading guilty earlier this year to charges that could bring 20 years behind bars. But the military pressed ahead with a court-martial on more serious charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence.

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