An Army general has upheld Private Chelsea Manning's conviction and 35-year prison sentence for giving reams of classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, the Army said Monday.
The approval by Maj. Gen. Jeffery S. Buchanan, commander of the Military District of Washington, clears the way for an automatic appeal of the case to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Manning's appellate lawyers said Sunday that they expect their appeal to focus on issues including alleged misuse of the Espionage Act.
The 26-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., was sentenced in August for six Espionage Act violations and 14 other offenses for leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents, plus some battlefield video, while serving in Iraq in 2009 and 2010. Buchanan, as commander of the jurisdiction in which the trial was held, had the option of approving or reducing the court-martial findings.