The military has released some court documents in the case of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of giving classified material to the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks.
A total of 84 documents on the case requested under the Freedom of Information Act are now public. The collection includes details of rulings handed down in court and routine court orders.
The releases are just a small fraction of the 500 documents totalling more than 30,000 pages available. Officials with the Department of Defense say more documents will be released when they have been reviewed and redacted.
WikiLeaks and several journalists and news organizations have filed a lawsuit seeking timely public access to the Manning court documents. That case is pending before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the military's highest court.
Manning wishes to offer statement
On Thursday, Manning is expected to read portions of a prepared statement explaining his intent in releasing the classified information in an effort to plead guilty to 10 minor charges out of the 22 offenses he faces. Defense attorney David Coombs says Manning himself has written a 35-page statement describing his motives.
The move is part of an offer from the former intelligence analyst to plead guilty to 10 minor charges out of 22 offenses he is facing, and may bolster his defense before his trial begins in June.
Prosecutors objected to that written statement and Judge Denise Lind said she hasn't decided whether to allow Manning to read it in court later this week.
Aiding the enemy allegations
The pre-trial hearing is in closed session for the rest of the day while the judge and attorneys discuss the use of classified information in the case.
Late Tuesday, attorneys for both sides argued over the relevance of evidence suggesting that former al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden saw some of the cables and other material released by Manning and later published by the website Wikileaks.
It's possible the prosecution will call a witness who was part of the raid on bin Laden's compound to confirm the story. That highly sensitive material was declassified for the upcoming trial and would be presented in a closed session
Manning is charged with aiding the enemy, which carries a possible life sentence.