Chelsea Manning Requests a Presidential Pardon

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 4 2013 5:33 PM

Chelsea Manning Requests a Presidential Pardon

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Protesters demonstrate the conviction of Wikileaker Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, in front of the White House.

Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, submitted an official request for a presidential pardon. In a letter addressed to President Obama, Manning’s lawyer submitted a “petition for commutation of his sentence.”

In August, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks. The earliest Manning could be considered for parole is in 7 years. In the letter, Manning’s lawyer writes, “the length of Private Manning’s sentence is one that we would expect for someone who disclosed information in order to harm the United States or who disclosed information for monetary gain. Private Manning did neither. Instead, he disclosed information that he believed could spark a meaningful public debate on the costs of war, and specifically on how we value human life.”

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Referring to Manning as a “military whistleblower,” the letter says Manning “has already paid a heavy price for his conduct.” Manning was convicted of 20 counts for the documents she leaked, but was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. The letter requests that Manning’s sentence be reduced to time served or that she receive a full pardon.

One day after sentencing last month, Manning announced, through a statement on the Today show that she would like to live as a woman and be known as Chelsea. Manning’s pardon request refers to Chelsea Manning by her former name, Bradley Manning.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.