FORT MEADE, MD. - US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, charged with leaking thousands of classified US government cables, argued on Tuesday for the dismissal of the charges against him based on what his lawyer called "irreparable prejudice" caused by the government's withholding of evidence.

Manning, 24, is accused of the largest leak of classified documents in US history, to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, and faces life in prison if convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious of 22 charges against him.

Manning's attorney went on the offensive, asserting that military prosecutors have intentionally delayed handing over documents that, based on a past Supreme Court ruling, should be provided if necessary and relevant for Manning's defense.

"We don't hide the ball. You give everything upfront. We hold a trial based on the facts, no gamesmanship," David Coombs said in a procedural hearing that marked the beginning of three days of pre-trial motions.

The prosecution is obligated to turn over evidence to the defense team that will be introduced in court, used to prove a charge, or deemed relevant to the preparation of the defense for the accused.

Rather than restart that process, which has taken two years already, Coombs argued that the only recourse is to dismiss the charges and throw the case out entirely.

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