Prosecutor Captain Joe Morrow, during closing arguments in the Bradley Manning court martial, recommended that Manning spend 60 years in prison for his crimes.
Manning, a 25-year-old Army private first class, was convicted on Espionage Act violations in July after he leaked 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks, which supporters argue was in the best interest of the American public. Manning faces a maximum sentence of 90 years for his 20 separate convictions.
“He betrayed the US,” Morrow said. “And for that betrayal, he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in confinement.”
Manning’s defense attorney said that a prison term should not go beyond 25 years because some of the documents Manning leaked will be declassified within 25 years.
Manning took the stand last week and apologized for hurting the United States and said that when he made the decisions he believed he was going to help people, not hurt them.
“Unfortunately, I can’t go back and change things,” Manning said in his apology. “I can only go forward. I want to go forward. Before I can do that though, I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions.”
While working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2010, Manning leaked battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, State Department diplomatic cables, and a 2007 video of a helicopter attack in Baghdad.
He cited extreme stress as the reason for making the decision to leak the documents. Family members and a psychologist testified to his extreme mental pressure in a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military era because he was struggling with gender-identity disorder.
He offered to plead guilty to charges that could have landed him 20 years in prison, but military prosecutors chose to go forward with the court martial, including a charge of aiding the enemy that Manning was not convicted of.
Prosecutors also called for a $100,000 fine and dishonorable discharge from the Army.
The judge will begin sentencing deliberations on Tuesday.
Jesse Farthing is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.