By Larry Shaughnessy
Lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning, charged with the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history, asked the judge overseeing his court-martial trial on Monday to throw out the most severe charges.
Lawyers for the former Army intelligence analyst want to gut much of the government's case, allegations that Manning aided the enemy in handing over a trove of documents and other information to WikiLeaks.
Col. Denise Lind gave prosecutors most of the week to respond to the motion before turning to the defense, which began its case.
Manning's lawyers showed an Iraq war video that is at the heart of the charges. The video was shot from a U.S. Apache helicopter as it attacked a group of people in Baghdad in 2007. A Reuters TV news cameraman and his driver were among a dozen people killed.
Manning has said the video and the behavior of the Americans involved bothered him to the point where he uploaded the images to WikiLeaks.
A U.S. investigation of the attack found the gunship crew mistook the Reuters staffers cameras for weapons while seeking out insurgents who had been firing at American troops in the area.
WikiLeaks released the video in April 2010 under the name "Collateral Murder" and Manning was taken into custody for leaking it a month later.
Manning has already pleaded guilty to nearly a dozen lesser charges that carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
But he has not admitted to the most serious count - aiding the enemies of the United States. If convicted of that, he could go to prison for life.
WikiLeaks has never confirmed that Manning was the source of its information.
Prosecutors rested their case last week.