U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (Artwork courtesy of Deb Van Poolen, www.debvanpoolen.com)
U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (Artwork courtesy of Deb Van Poolen, www.debvanpoolen.com)

U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s defense team won a small victory Tuesday when the military judge presiding over his leak case dropped nearly five decades off the soldier’s possible maximum sentence, but the WikiLeaks whistleblower is still in jeopardy of spending the rest of his life behind bars.

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, reduced the maximum penalty against Manning from 136 years to 90 years after ruling that several counts were duplicative, according to a military press release.

Still, Manning, 25, could sit in a prison cell until he’s 115 years old if the maximum sentence holds up.

Manning’s court martial is currently in the second week of its sentencing phase. Manning last week was found not guilty of “Aiding the Enemy”—the most serious charge—but was found guilty by Lind of nearly all other charges.

More: Multimedia package on Bradley Manning’s case

Manning was accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. The solider pleaded guilty in February to 10 of 22 charges brought by the U.S. government.

Military prosecutors have argued that Manning’s leaks jeopardized U.S. interests abroad.

Lind’s decision Tuesday came after the defense filed three separate motions to merge several counts against Manning.

The sentencing case resumes Wednesday.

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Rashed Mian has been covering local news for the Long Island Press since 2011. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2010 where he studied print journalism. Rashed, the staff's multimedia reporter, covers daily news for the web, shoots/edits feature videos and writes about civil liberties. He loves Afghan food and sports. Rashed is also a caffeine freak. Email: [email protected] Twitter: rashedmian