Bradley Manning to be sentenced in Wikileaks case

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Sentencing begins Wednesday for the Army intelligence analyst convicted on multiple counts of releasing top secret information.

Private Bradley Manning was found not guilty Tuesday of aiding the enemy, which was the most serious charge against him.

Manning supporters gathered in front of the White House after hearing he'd been convicted.

Wednesday's sentencing follows what Private Manning's defense called a huge victory. He was found guilty on 20 counts - including espionage - but not guilty of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy.

Manning gave the website Wikileaks battle plans, diplomatic cables and video of an Apache helicopter that killed innocent civilians in Baghdad. He faces up to 136 years in prison.

"The government is very, very serious about protecting the status of classified information and people who, people who disseminate it are playing with fire," said Eugene Fidell, military law expert.

The judge found Manning negligent but said he didn't intend for those secrets to land in the hands of Osama bin Laden - which they did.

Still, experts and supporters say the espionage convictions are unprecedented.

"Historically espionage act charges have been brought against spies and against traitors and not against people who leaked information to the media with no ill intent," said Elizabeth Goiten, Brennan Center for Justice.

"It is a serious precedent, it is a serious abuse, and it will mean the end of national security journalism in the United States as we know it," said Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder.

The White House and State Department had no comment.

In a statement, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Intelligence Committee said justice was served.

Experts think it's unlikely Manning will get the full sentence. That process could take weeks.