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Defense Makes Closing Arguments In Bradley Manning Trial

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Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md.

The closing arguments in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning have finished and the judge says she will start deliberating Friday night.

Judge Col. Denise Lind said she will give the public one day's notice before she decides on the 21 charges the former intelligence analyst faces. The most serious of them is aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence in prison.

During 5+ hours of closing summation yesterday, prosecutors called Army Pfc. Bradley Manning a traitor. Today, defense attorney David Coombs disputed that characterization, instead referring to him as a whistleblower determined to reveal the injustice he observed in the war zone.

In his closing arguments, Coombs pointed out certain elements of testimony he claims prosecutors cherrypicked to make the evidence fit the charges against Manning. He also described Manning's intelligence unit in Iraq, where testimony showed there were few rules about what information could be accessed by an analyst with Manning's authority.

The prosecution has said Manning knew al-Qaida and other enemies would see the material and he leaked it so that he could bask in worldwide attention as a whistleblower.

The defense is expected to wrap up their closing arguments on Friday, followed by a short rebuttal by prosecutors.

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