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Defense calls Manning whistleblower, not a traitor, in closing arguments

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As the trial of Army Private Bradley Manning nears to an end, attorneys for the WikiLeaks source made closing remarks on Friday meant to counter the prosecution’s claim that the soldier intentionally aided America’s adversaries.

Judge Col. Denise Lind is expected to present her verdict in the coming week and will be the sole party responsible for convicting and sentencing Manning, a 25-year-old private first class charged with the largest intelligence leak in United States history.

Only days before Col. Lind is expected to announce her verdict and sentence Manning, attorney David Coombs began the defense’s closing remarks Friday morning by questioning the statements made one day earlier by government prosecutors.

On Thursday, Major Ashden Fein said Manning “should be held accountable for deliberate and intentional acts of releasing volumes of classified information through WikiLeaks to enemies of this country.”

“He was not a humanist, he was a hacker. He was not a whistleblower, he was a traitor,” Fein told the court, according to the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington.

When Coombs had his chance to present closing remarks Friday morning, he challenged Fein’s opinion by again portraying Pfc. Manning as someone not interested in harming America, but rather a person who desired to raise awareness of the atrocities being committed in the name of his country.

“That is a whistleblower,” Coombs said of his client. “That is somebody that wants to inform the American public.”

Coombs also played the court excerpts of a video filmed from a US Apache helicopter sent by Manning to WikiLeaks in which American soldiers are seen shooting and killing civilians and journalists.

“You have to look at this through the eyes of young man that cares about human life,” Coombs said.

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