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Manning sorry he ‘hurt the United States’

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning apologized Wednesday for leaking documents to WikiLeaks in his first statements since his court martial began in June.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning apologized Wednesday for leaking documents to WikiLeaks in his first statements since his court martial began in June.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, July 30, 2013, after receiving a verdict in his court martial. (Photo by Patrick Semansky/AP)

Bradley Manning apologized for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks in a brief statement Wednesday, calling the time he has spent awaiting trial a “learning experience.”

Army Pfc. Manning was found guilty in July of 10 counts related to the leak, including espionage and leaking classified information. His disclosure in 2010 to WikiLeaks was the largest leak in United States history. He pleaded guilty to 10 other charges in February.

He spoke Wednesday as a part of the sentencing phase of his court martial; he faces a possible sentence of 90 years in prison.

“I’m sorry I hurt people. I’m sorry that I hurt the United States,” he said. “I’m apologizing for the unexpected results of my actions. The last three years have been a learning experience for me.”

Manning also described what he hopes to do after his prison sentence is over. “I hope that you can give me the opportunity to prove, not through words, but through conduct, that I am a good person and that I can return to productive place in society,” he said.

This is the first time the 25-year-old has spoken out since a February hearing at which he read a 35-page statement. Manning’s sister Casey Major also took the stand to describe the challenges she and her younger brother faced while growing up in an unstable home. “I just hope he can be who he wants to be,” she said of his uncertain future.

Col. Denise Lind, the judge in the court martial, is not expected to hand down a sentence until next week at the earliest.