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Bradley Manning's Trial Set To Begin In February In WikiLeaks Case

The trial of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of passing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website, has been scheduled to begin in early February. That news came on the last of three days of pretrial hearings held in Fort Meade, Md., this week.

Of the court date, Wikileaks tweeted, "Manning full trial has been scheduled for Feb 4. He will have spent nearly 3 years detained without trial. Legal max is 120 days."

If convicted, Manning would face a possible life sentence. The 22 charges filed against him range from aiding the enemy to transmitting defense information, and fraud and related activity in connection with computers.

At the hearings, defense lawyers for Manning, who is being confined in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., argued for the full release of more than 1,300 emails that relate to the conditions in which the accused soldier is being detained. The government had previously released only about half of the emails sought by Manning's team.

The judge in the case, Army Col. Denise Lind, has said she will review those emails to determine whether they should be released.

Thursday, Lind ruled that government prosecutors would be able to introduce details about Manning's military record at the trial, including reported incidents of misconduct.

More hearings have been scheduled before the February court date, to handle questions about Manning's detention, his right to a speedy trial, and how to handle classified information during the court proceedings.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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