Chelsea Manning, the Wikileaks source and government whistleblower who was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013, has formally petitioned President Obama to commute her sentence, the New York Times reports.
Manning, a U.S. Army private who was known as Bradley Manning at the time, pleaded guilty to a number of charges after leaking nearly 700,000 documents containing government secrets, though she was not found guilty of the most serious charge against her, aiding the enemy, which could have meant a life sentence.
She has served more than six years of her current sentence. Even if she was released now, that's more time served than any other whistleblower in U.S. history.
The formal petition from Manning's lawyer to Obama is available online here and runs a full 27 pages. Here's an excerpt:
Ms. Manning has never made excuses for disclosing classified materials to the news media. She accepted responsibility at trial by pleading guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement, an unusual act of courage in a case such as hers. Despite pleading guilty, the military prosecutors sought to characterize Ms. Manning's behavior as treasonous, an effort that ultimately failed. Unfortunately the trial had become a public spectacle, and with the Army under great scrutiny, the active duty military judge sentenced Ms. Manning to thirty-five years confinement.
The petition also includes a statement from Manning herself. Here's part of that:
I have served a sufficiently long sentence. I am not asking for a pardon of my conviction. I understand that the various collateral consequences of the court-martial conviction will stay on my record forever. The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members.
Manning has struggled in prison. Earlier this month it was reported that she'd made a second suicide attempt while in solitary confinement.
Obama had commuted the sentences of a record 872 people as of late October, far more than any other president. According to the Department of Justice's clemency statistics, as of Oct. 1 there were 1,920 pending applications for pardon and 11,355 for commutation. Obama's last day in the White House is Jan. 20.