- The sentencing phase of Manning's case begins Wednesday
- Manning, his aunt and his sister are expected to speak, an Army public affairs officer says
For the first time since he was convicted, convicted leaker Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is scheduled to speak in his defense when he takes the stand during the sentencing phase of his court-martial on Wednesday.
Manning was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of classified documents and videos to WikiLeaks, and the counts against him included violations of the Espionage Act. He was found guilty of 20 of the 22 charges against him, and he could face up to 90 years in prison if the judge imposes the maximum sentence.
But Col. Denise Lind, the judge in the case, has already shown she's not inclined to throw the book at him. She found him not guilty of the most serious charge against him -- aiding the enemy -- and after she rendered a verdict, she granted a defense motion that decreased the maximum penalty Manning faced from 136 years in prison to 90 years.
According to Shaunteh Kelly, a public affairs officer, Manning, his aunt and his sister are expected to speak in his defense Wednesday.
It will be the third time Manning has spoken since his arrest in the largest classified document leak case in U.S. history.
Earlier in the case, Manning testified about his treatment by the Marines at Quantico Brig in Virginia. The judge ruled that the Marines' harsh treatment of Manning was out of line and granted him 112 days off his eventual sentence.
Later, prior to the start of his court-martial, Manning read a detailed statement after entering guilty pleas on 10 lesser charges in hopes the prosecution would pursue fewer of the charges against him. It didn't work.