Bradley Manning's lawyers have urged a judge to dismiss a charge he aided the enemy by leaking thousands of classified documents, saying prosecutors failed to prove he intended for the information to fall into enemy hands.
The charge is the most serious and carries the most severe punishment - life in prison - in the case against Manning, who has admitted he sent hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks.
The trial against the 25-year-old is drawing to a close, and a judge is weighing whether to dismiss that charge and several lesser counts.
Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, argued on Monday that Manning could have sold the documents, which included battlefield reports and State Department diplomatic cables, or given them directly to the enemy.
Instead, he gave them to WikiLeaks in an attempt to "spark reform" and provoke debate.
He said Manning had no way of knowing whether al-Qaeda would access the website and said a military report from 2008 showed the government didn't even know.
The government has said Manning indirectly aided the enemy by allowing for the information, which he downloaded in 2009 and 2010 from a classified government network, to be posted online.
Prosecutors say the former intelligence analyst had received sophisticated computer training and would have understood that al-Qaida could have seen it.
The defence rested its case last week. The military judge said she would decide on Thursday whether to acquit Manning of the aiding the enemy charge and several lesser counts.