* Lawyer argues Manning did not intentionally aid the enemy
* Trial to take place more than two years after arrest
* Judge denies motion to dismiss all charges
(Adds defense motion, detail, background)
By Lily Kuo
FORT MEADE, MD, April 25 Bradley Manning, the
U.S. intelligence analyst charged with leaking thousands of
classified U.S. government cables to the anti-secrecy group
WikiLeaks, called on a military court on Wednesday to dismiss
the charge that he aided an enemy of the United States,
identified as Al Qaeda.
Manning, 24, who faces a military trial in September, is
accused of downloading more than 700,000 classified or
confidential files from the military while serving in Iraq in
what would be the largest leak of classified documents in U.S.
Military prosecutors claim Manning knowingly gave U.S.
intelligence to an enemy they have identified as "Al Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula," one of the terrorist group's most potent
affiliates, through the "indirect means" of the site WikiLeaks.
Manning's attorney David Coombs pressed the court to dismiss
the most serious of the 22 charges against Manning on the basis
of what he called an overly broad interpretation of the law.
"They're really trying to say he should have known better,"
Coombs said, arguing that simply providing information to be
published on the Internet does not constitute aiding enemies of
the United States and that the prosecution's interpretation
violates the right to free speech.
Manning wanted to get information out to the public, but
never showed "general evil intent" to give information to the
enemy, Coombs said. He compared Manning's actions to a soldier
speaking to publications like the Washington Post or the New
Prosecutors argued Manning knowingly provided information
based on his training as an intelligence analyst.
A soldier who, without proper authority, knowingly gives
intelligence to the enemy can be punished for aiding the enemy,
said a legal expert with the Military District of Washington,
the Army command unit for the capital region, who was present at
The judge, Colonel Denise Lind, said she would rule on the
motion on Thursday, the third day of pre-trial hearings.
Aiding the enemy is a capital offense but the prosecutor has
said it would not seek the death penalty in Manning's case.
Manning could, however, face life in prison.
DISMISSAL OF CHARGES DENIED
In a blow to the 24-year-old, Lind ruled against a motion
filed by Manning's lawyer to dismiss all charges because of what
he called the prosecutor's intentional withholding of evidence
needed to prepare Manning's defense, and set a tentative trial
schedule for Sept. 21 through Oct. 12.
Manning's trial will take place more than two years after he
"The court finds no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct,"
Lind said at the pre-trial hearing.
Manning, in a dark blue military dress uniform and
black-rimmed glasses, listened intently to the arguments,
occasionally leaning in to talk with his lawyer.
A handful of Manning's supporters, who view him as a
whistleblower, filled the pews behind Manning wearing T-shirts
with the word "truth." Lind instructed them to hold back from
making any noise during court proceedings after one guffawed at
the judge's ruling.
Lind also denied a defense motion for a transcript or audio
file of a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia that has been
investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but ordered the
testimony be examined for material relevant to Manning's
Lind said that although the FBI and the Army have pursued a
WikiLeaks investigation, military prosecutors did not have the
authority to release FBI documents.
Manning is accused of downloading files from the military's
Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRNet, while
serving in the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Iraq.
(Reporting By Lily Kuo; Editing by David Storey and Todd