On Wednesday, NBC News reported that a Justice Department official told the news agency that President Obama put Chelsea Manning, the transgender former Army intelligence analyst serving time for leaking classified material, on the short list for a possible commutation. Chelsea Manning, previously known as Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2010 after stealing 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables and handing them over to Wikileaks. The communication announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.
Manning has had a handful of psychiatric issues behind bars. The day after Manning received the verdict, he announced he was a transgender woman named Chelsea. Since then, Manning has attempted to commit suicide multiple times and went on a hunger strike just this year in a bid for gender reassignment surgery.
“I’m sorry,” Manning said in court. “I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States.”
“I understand that I must pay the price for my decisions and actions,” Manning added.
Manning’s lawyer, David E. Coombs spoke to NBC News about the sentence, saying it is far too harsh of a punishment for the crime.
“After this case, I had to tell Chelsea — ‘I’ve represented murderers. I’ve represented rapists. I’ve represented child molesters. And none of them received 35 years,'” Coombs said.