US soldier accused in Wikileaks case due in court

US soldier accused in Wikileaks case due in court (AP)
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted by a security detail into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Thursday, March 15, 2012. Manning, a US Army private accused of leaking classified material to the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks could soon learn when his trial will start. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(AP) -- A U.S. Army private accused of leaking classified material to the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks could soon learn when his trial will start.

Pfc. Bradley Manning was scheduled to appear in a military at Fort Meade, near Baltimore, on Thursday and Friday. During his most recent hearing in late February, no trial date was set, though the timing was discussed. A military judge is expected to set a firmer schedule this week.

Military say Manning, a 24-year-old Oklahoma native, downloaded and transferred to Wikileaks nearly half a million sensitive reports. That included hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and a video of a deadly 2007 Army helicopter attack that WikiLeaks shared with the world and dubbed "Collateral Murder." Defense lawyers say Manning was a troubled soldier who shouldn't have had access to classified material and that the leaked material did little or no harm to .

During Manning's last hearing, which lasted less than an hour, Manning declined to enter a plea to the 22 counts he faces, including aiding the enemy, which could result in life imprisonment. He also put off choosing whether to be tried by a military jury or judge alone. Manning could make those decisions Thursday or Friday, but could also wait until slightly before trial to choose a judge or jury and could enter a plea at the start of his trial.


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