Patrick Semansky / AP
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted to a security vehicle outside a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on Friday.
The military judge who will sentence Army Pfc. Bradley Manning called the former intelligence analyst’s conduct “wanton and reckless” in the release of thousands of state secrets to WikiLeaks, according to a document released Friday.
“Manning’s conduct was of a heedless nature that made it actually and imminently dangerous to others,” Army Col. Denise Lind wrote in the “special findings” document released during court proceedings at Fort Meade, Md., on Friday. “His conduct was both wanton and reckless.”
Lind released the findings as the federal government rested in the sentencing phase of the trial. Closing arguments on sentencing are slated for Monday, and Lind may sentence Manning as early as Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Manning, 25, faces up to 90 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website, while stationed in Iraq in 2010. He was convicted in July of espionage, releasing classified information, disobeying orders and leaking intelligence knowing that it would be accessible to the enemy.
He apologized Wednesday for his conduct and for damaging the United States.
“I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States,” Manning said. “I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people. The last few years have been a learning experience.”
Manning on Wednesday took the stand and delivered the statement as part of the defense team's move to persuade Lind to issue a lighter sentence.
"I should have worked more aggressively inside the system...Unfortunately, I can't go back and change things," Manning, wearing his dress uniform and glasses, his hair in a crew cut, said from the witness stand.
He did not appear to be reading from notes and looked at the judge and around the room as he spoke for less than four minutes.
"I understand I must pay a price for my decisions," he said.
Manning was acquitted on charges of aiding the enemy on July 30, but was convicted on most other charges. Aiding the enemy carried a potential life sentence and was the most serious charge against Manning. His acquittal on that charge may be a sign that the judge does not intend to seek the harshest punishment possible against him.
The judge ruled last week that several of the charges facing Manning were duplicates, decreasing the maximum potential sentence from 136 years down to 90.
Erin McClam and Matthew DeLuca of NBC News contributed to this report.
First published August 16 2013, 1:32 PM