WASHINGTON — U.S. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, sentenced for leaking classified U.S. documents, said he is female and wants to live as a woman named Chelsea.
A statement from Manning was read on NBC News’ “Today” program on Thursday. In part, it read: “As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”
Manning, 25, was sentenced on Wednesday to 35 years in a military prison for turning over classified files to WikiLeaks in the biggest breach of secret data in the nation’s history. According to “Today,” during the trial, “Manning’s defense team suggested his struggles with gender identity as a gay soldier were a factor in his decision to leak. His attorneys presented an email to a former supervisor from April 2010 in which he said he was transgender and joined the Army to ‘get rid of it.’”
His lawyer, David Coombs, also told NBC said he expects Manning to get pardoned.