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Judge grants name change to Chelsea Manning, convicted in WikiLeaks case

From Shawn Nottingham, CNN
updated 6:19 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Change will have no effect "other than the name in his records," says Army spokesman
  • Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified military information
  • She was formerly known as Bradley Edward Manning
  • "I've been working for months for this change, and waiting for years," says Manning

(CNN) -- Bradley Edward Manning is no more.

Bradley Manning: "I am Chelsea Manning"
2013: Can Manning get hormones in prison?

A Kansas judge on Wednesday granted the former Army intelligence analyst's request to formally be known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

"I've been working for months for this change, and waiting for years," she said in a statement applauding the order.

"It's worth noting that in both mail and in-person, I've often been asked, 'Why are you changing your name?' The answer couldn't be simpler: because it's a far better, richer, and more honest reflection of who I am and always have been -- a woman named Chelsea."

Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence at the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

She was convicted in July of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks in what has been described as the largest leak of classified material in U.S. history. Manning was found guilty of 20 of the 22 charges against her, including violations of the U.S. Espionage Act.

George Wright, an Army spokesman, said Wednesday the name change would have little consequence.

"This court action is only a name change and will have no other effect on his current status other than the name in his records. U.S. Disciplinary Barracks is an all-male facility," he said.

Manning first announced her intent to live as a woman in August.

Then, she asked for support and said she wanted to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.

"In August, I requested that the military provide me with a treatment plan consistent with the recognized professional standards of care for trans health. They quickly evaluated me and informed me that they came up with a proposed treatment plan.

"However, I have not yet seen their treatment plan, and in over eight months, I have not received any response as to whether the plan will be approved or disapproved, or whether it follows the guidelines of qualified health professionals," Manning said in Wednesday's statement.

In August, one Army official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about Manning's case, said the private would remain a man in the eyes of the Army. Another said Manning would be treated like any other prisoner.

CNN's Jamie Crawford contributed to this report.

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