During his 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.” The email, which had the subject line “My Problem,” also included a photo of Manning in which he is wearing a blonde wig and lipstick. During Manning’s nine-month detainment at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., following his arrest in 2010, he sent two letters to his counselor using the name “Breanna,’’ Master Sgt. Craig Blenis testified at his trial.
"The stress that he was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time," Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Thursday. "It was never an excuse because that's not what drove his actions. What drove his actions was a strong moral compass."