The attorney of US soldier Private Bradley Manning has described his client as "Young, naive, but good intentioned" during a brief opening statement.
David Coombs said that Manning arrived in Iraq when he was "22-years young".
He was deployed to Iraq with custom dog tags that said "humanist" on the back, with the hope that he could make the country a safer.
The attorney spoke of a formative event on Christmas Eve in 2009, when an explosively-formed projectile (EFP) missed a US convoy but struck a car with an Iraqi family.
He was 22-years old. He was young. A little naive, but good intentioned in that he was selecting information that he thought would make a difference.
He is not the typical soldier.
He was a humanist.
Coombs said Manning could not forget the Iraqi civilians hurt and killed in the attack, and how he "started to struggle".
He said Manning began to select specific information that he believed the public should see, that could not be used against the US, and "would make the world a better place".
More top news
Novak Djokovic has secured his fifth Australian Open title with a four set 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0 victory over Andy Murray
Fire crews released a woman from an overturned car after it went off the A12 at Ingatestone in Essex.
Star of cult TV drama The Wire actor Idris Elba has said he sees himself as "an odd, tall black man that doesn't quite fit in".