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MILITARY

Manning's lawyers argue charges should be merged, reduced in number for sentencing purposes

Lawyers for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning are pursuing strategies aimed at reducing his possible sentence for disclosing classified information through the website WikiLeaks.

A military judge is considering those motions as Manning's sentencing hearing continues Tuesday at Fort Meade, near Baltimore.

Manning stands convicted of 20 counts with maximum prison terms totaling 136 years. His lawyers have asked the judge to merge two of his six espionage convictions and two of his five theft convictions. If the judge agrees, that would trim 20 years from his possible sentence.

The defense also says some of the counts amount to multiple convictions for a single act. If the judge agrees with that argument, Manning would face a maximum of 80 years in prison, reduction in rank to private and a dishonorable discharge.