1. The judge had little or no choice in this verdict. It was quite predictable. "Jury nullification" is not an option for trial officers under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In fact, I'd argue that the judge has been, so far, as lenient as it was possible to be, and sent a significant message in declining to find Manning guilty of providing aid to the enemy.
2. I can't figure out how to triangulate the public reaction to this verdict against the public reaction to the Zimmermann verdict. In its own way the Manning trial outcome has the potential to be just as divisive as the Florida shooting, but the lines seem to fall much differently. I've seen people who think Zimmermann was a hero both condemn and praise Manning; likewise with people who believe Zimmermann got away with murder. Strangely, I find it a hopeful sign that we don't always divide along the same lines.