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Bradley Manning Defense Calls For Reduction In Sentence

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Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after receiving a verdict in his court martial.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after receiving a verdict in his court martial.

In the first day of the sentencing phase in the court martial of Army Private Bradley Manning, defense attorneys are trying to reduce their client's potential prison time by advocating for a merger of his convictions.

The motions filed this morning by defense attorney David Coombs seeks to merge two of the six espionage counts and two of the five counts of theft Manning was convicted on yesterday. All of the counts involve Manning's leak of the so-called Afghan and Iraq war logs.

If Judge Denise Lind agrees to the merger agreement, Manning could face up to 116 years in prison instead of the maximum sentence of 136 years. Lind says she'll rule on the motion next week.

Meanwhile, the first witness in the sentencing phase took the stand today. Retired Brigadier General Robert Carr is the former director of the Army's counter intelligence center. Carr spent most of the day testifying about the impact of the leaked government documents on intelligence operations in the defense department. Before Carr began, defense attorneys objected to Carr as a witness and moved to have him disallowed as a witness, claiming his expected testimony would not be based on specific facts or data.

The judge disagreed, denying the motion.

Manning, who didn't testify during the eight-week trial, could take the stand or offer a written statement during this sentencing phase which is expected to stretch into the end of August.

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