Arguing that his illegal leaks severely damage U.S. secret intelligence, military prosecutors asked that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning be sentenced to 60 years in prison.
"There may be no soldier in the history of the Army who displayed such an extreme disregard," Army Capt. Joe Morrow is quoted saying. "At least 60 years is justified. Pfc. Manning is young. He deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in prison."
But during closing arguments Monday, Manning's defense asked the judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, to balance rehabilitation and punishment before sentencing. Manning faces up to 90 years in prison, without the option to apply for clemency until he's served a third of his prison term. Defense lawyer David Coombs didn't ask for a specific term, but suggested the term shouldn't exceed 25 years, which is when the classification of some documents leaked by Manning would expire.
During trial, the U.S. Army private was portrayed as a traitor by the prosecution and as a well-intentioned but naive young man by the defense. He provided some 700,000 confidential military documents to WikiLeaks in what reportedly was the largest disclosure ever of classified American military information.
Manning was acquitted last month of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, but convicted of violating the Espionage Act.
Lind has said she'll start considering a sentence on Tuesday.