US soldier Bradley Manning has taken the stand during his sentencing hearing for leaking classified material to WikiLeaks and apologised for hurting the United States and others.
Manning gave an unsworn statement, which means he cannot be cross-examined by prosecutors. He began with an apology.
"I'm sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm sorry that it hurt the United States," he said.
Manning faces up to 90 years in prison for leaking the information while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2010. He said he understood what he was doing and the decisions he made. However, he said he did not believe at the time that leaking the information would cause harm.
Earlier, an Army psychologist said Manning's private struggle with his gender identity in a hostile workplace put incredible pressure on the soldier.
Manning eventually came out to Capt. Michael Worsley and emailed the therapist a photo of himself wearing a wig of long, blond hair and lipstick. The photo was attached to a letter titled "My problem," in which Manning describes his issues with gender identity and his hope that a military career would "get rid of it."
Worsley testified at Manning's sentencing hearing at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. He said the soldier had little to no support base.
"You put him in that kind of hyper-masculine environment, if you will, with little support and few coping skills, the pressure would have been difficult to say the least," Worsley said. "It would have been incredible."
Manning's lawyers contend that the soldier showed clear signs of deteriorating mental health that should have prevented commanders from sending him to a warzone to handle classified information.
Manning sat and listened attentively to the psychologist who had treated him, smiling occasionally. But his face tightened when Worsley talked about how guarded and hesitant Manning had been in Iraq to talk about his gender identity. Worsley's testimony described some military leaders as lax at best and obstructionist at worst when it came to tending to troop mental health.