A US military judge on Tuesday reduced the maximum possible sentence for Private Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst who admitted giving documents to WikiLeaks, from 136 to 90 years.

Judge Colonel Denise Lind agreed to a motion by Manning’s defence lawyers to consolidate some of the charges, the military said.

Last week, Lind pronounced Manning guilty on 20 of 22 charges of espionage and theft of Government documents after a trial that began in early June.

Although his supporters and family expressed relief that Lind found him not guilty on the most serious charge — knowingly aiding the enemy — the 25-year-old soldier still faces a long prison term.

The sentencing phase of the court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, is expected to end by late August.

Prosecution and defence lawyers are giving arguments over the length of punishment for each conviction. At issue are whether they will be served consecutively or concurrently, and whether Manning could be released from prison before the full sentence is served.

Manning admitted to copying an estimated 700,000 classified diplomatic and military documents from US Government networks when he worked as an analyst in Iraq, and offering them to the Wikileaks anti-secrecy organisation.

Bradley Manning admitted in court to sending information to the Wikileaks in what he described as an attempt to spark debate on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His estranged father called that confession “grandstanding.”