Bradley Manning has been found not guilty of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge leveled against him and the one that could have carried a life sentence. But the WikiLeaker isn’t exactly off the hook; he was convicted on 17 other counts, including at least five counts of violating the Espionage Act, and on amended versions of four others, the Guardian reports. (The BBC puts the tally at 20 convictions.) Manning was also acquitted of one espionage count stemming from the leak of a video of a US military strike in Afghanistan, which Manning had argued he was not the original source of, though he did later release a version.
The aiding the enemy acquittal probably won’t have any practical effect; the other charges he was convicted of carry a maximum of 130 years in prison, and according to Reuters, government prosecutors are seeking the harshest sentence possible. (Manning also had already pleaded guilty to some lesser charges.) But the Washington Post calls it a “striking rebuke” to military prosecutors. News organizations had feared that a guilty verdict on that charge would have had dire implications for investigative journalism. The courtroom saga is unlikely to end here, because any soldier sentenced to more than six months in custody is automatically entitled to an appeal.