[1/11/17] President Obama has put Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified material, on his short list for a possible commutation, a Justice Department source told NBC News.
“I have more hope right now than I have the entire time since she was sentenced,” Manning’s aunt, Deborah Manning, told NBC News.
“I do think it’s the last hope for a while.”
Manning — then known as Bradley — was locked up in 2010 after swiping 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables and giving them to Wikileaks.
Prosecutors branded Manning a “traitor” seeking notoriety in the world of hackers and anarchists. Manning’s lawyers painted their client as a naive whistle-blower who caused little more than mortification.
Manning pleaded guilty and before the sentencing delivered an apology to the court — and the nation. A recording of that statement is being broadcast for the first time by NBC News.
“I’m sorry,” Manning said. “I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States.”
“I understand that I must pay the price for my decisions and actions,” Manning added.
Those words of contrition did not sway the military judge, who gave Manning a sentence about 10 times longer than those of recent whistle-blowers.
“After this case, I had to tell Chelsea — ‘I’ve represented murderers. I’ve represented rapists. I’ve represented child molesters. And none of them received 35 years,'” defense lawyer David Coombs told NBC News.