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Should Bradley Manning be granted a pardon?

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mi-460-manning-sentence.jpg Bradley Manning's lawyer said he will submit a plea to President Obama asking to grant a pardon. (Associated Press)

Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for divulging more than 700,000 secret military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks, will send a plea to U.S. President Barack Obama.

Manning, who now plans to live as a woman, gave a statement to NBC's Today show Thursday. 

"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning said in the statement. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female." 

Manning's prison sentence was more severe than many expected, given the past rulings against whistleblowers. 

Manning's lawyer, defence attorney David Coombs, said he would be submitting a request that Obama grant his client a pardon, or at the very least commute the sentence to time served. 

But in a statement, Manning said that if the pardon was not granted, he would "gladly pay the price" of this sentence in exchange for a free society.

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