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WikiLeaks figure called troubled

Dec. 11, 2011 at 8:32 PM   |   Comments

BALTIMORE, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. soldier accused of providing leaked Pentagon and State Department material to WikiLeaks had "extreme" emotional issues, his attorney says.

Filings by attorney David E. Coombs characterize Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning as troubled by U.S. involvement in Iraq and feeling isolated from other troops as a gay soldier in the military's "don't ask, don't tell" era, The Baltimore Sun reported Saturday.

Manning, 23, is set to appear at Fort Meade Friday for a preliminary hearing to determine whether his case will go to court-martial on charges that include aiding the enemy and violating the Espionage Act.

It will be his first public appearance since his May 2010 arrest at a U.S. base in Iraq, the newspaper said.

Manning stands accused of leaking diplomatic cables that included analyses and observations of foreign leaders and governments, field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, and video footage of a 2007 helicopter attack that killed 12 in Baghdad.

Coombs has filed a witness list he said includes supervisors and fellow soldiers who would testify that Manning "should not have been a soldier," "seemed to act immature," "was not receptive to commands" and "was suffering from extreme emotional issues."

In court filings, the government has opposed the appearance of most of the witnesses requested by Coombs, arguing testimony about Manning's mental health are irrelevant to the case "and will only serve to distract from the relevant issues."

Aiding the enemy is a capital offense, but Army prosecutors say they would not seek the death penalty if Manning was convicted, the Sun reported.

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