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Manning Defense Witness "Relieved" About Verdict

PHOTO: LGBT activist and blogger Lauren McNamara, who testified in the trial of Bradley Manning, reacts to the verdict against him. Photo credit: www.zinniajones.com
PHOTO: LGBT activist and blogger Lauren McNamara, who testified in the trial of Bradley Manning, reacts to the verdict against him. Photo credit: www.zinniajones.com
July 31, 2013

FORT MEADE, Md. - The defense witness who testified that Bradley Manning was a soldier who wanted to save American lives when he went to Iraq says she's relieved he's been acquitted of the most serious charge against him - aiding the enemy.

Lauren McNamara, a blogger and activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender causes, was called to testify in Manning's trial about the lengthy online chats she had with him in 2009 after he found her through her YouTube channel.

"I'm very relieved that he was found not guilty of aiding the enemy, which I felt was an especially spurious charge that the government was pursuing," she said. "It implied that simply releasing any information into the public sphere was somehow releasing it to 'the enemies.' "

McNamara is hopeful Manning's defense team will pursue vigorous appeals and he won't have to spend more time in jail.

McNamara says she believes the three years Manning already has spent in detention, including time in solitary confinement, has been punishment enough.

"I would just hope that people respect him," she said. "He's really been through enough at this point, and I wish they would just let him go after all of this."

Manning is to be sentenced this morning, and faces decades behind bars for leaking classified information.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD