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Facebook audience split on Manning verdict

By Dorrine Mendoza, CNN
updated 2:40 PM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013
Pfc. Bradley Manning was found guilty of espionage on Tuesday. His sentencing hearing begins Wednesday.
Pfc. Bradley Manning was found guilty of espionage on Tuesday. His sentencing hearing begins Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pfc. Bradley Manning found guilty of espionage
  • He was found guilty of 20 counts that include violations of the Espionage Act.
  • CNN's Facebook audience split on whether he's a hero or a traitor

(CNN) -- As Pfc. Bradley Manning headed back to court for the first day of his sentencing hearing, the CNN Facebook community had plenty to say about the punishment he should receive.

Manning, who provided classified government documents to WikiLeaks detailing, among other things, America's undisclosed policies on torture, was found guilty Tuesday of 20 counts that include violations of the Espionage Act. Twelve of them carry maximum sentences of 10 years each.

The judge acquitted Manning of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, which carried a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

CNN presented the story to our Facebook audience one day after the verdict. The majority of comments appeared to support punishment for Manning, ranging from execution to prison.

Jason Mueller wrote in part, "This wasn't because he has some high moral compass, he's part of the 'coddle me' generation." Mueller, who says he is a soldier, wrote that the information Manning released could have gotten troops killed or injured.

"He's a disgrace to the uniform," Charles Dodd wrote.

However a follow-up poll on CNN's Facebook page found sentiments running to the contrary, that Manning shouldn't be punished for being a whistle-blower.

Jordan Lee Evans posted, "I'm just glad I know what is really going on over there now. Thanks to Bradley Manning for being a martyr for the real United States we used to know that had honor. JFK would be proud of you Pfc. Manning."

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