Supporters of Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence analyst accused of giving Wikileaks massive amounts of documents and videos, gathered for his first court appearance.
The private, who turns 24 on Saturday, faces charges including aiding the enemy which could send him to prison for life.
The military court at Fort Meade in Maryland was packed for preliminary hearings in which Manning’s defence team called for the investigating officer to withdraw, accusing him of partiality.
Manning allegedly downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents while stationed in Iraq. He was arrested in Kuwait in May last year after a former hacker went to the authorities.
The leaks included shocking images of US Army activity in Iraq and frank discussions of corruption. They shook the diplomatic world and some say contributed to the Arab Spring protests.