Military judge demands allegedly withheld evidence in WikiLeaks trial

Army Col. Denise Lind on June 25 ordered the prosecution in the case against Pfc. Bradley Manning to submit to her a number of files that were allegedly withheld from the defense during discovery. Manning is accused of transferring more than 700,000 confidential documents and video clips to WikiLeaks, the largest intelligence leak is US history. Manning’s defense has argued the leaks did not hurt US national security, but the US Army has responded that Manning’s actions indirectly aided al-Qaeda. Manning’s lawyers now allege that the prosecution has withheld damage assessment reports that may affect the outcome of his case. Lind ordered the prosecution to turn over the reports as well as a “due diligence statement” accounting for their failure to reveal the documents earlier. The prosecution has maintained that their actions were justified and that it is time-consuming to obtain the documents in question.

Earlier this month, Lind denied a motion to dismiss eight of the 22 charges against Manning after his defense had argued they were unconstitutionally vague. In March, UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez accused the US government of cruel and inhuman treatment of Manning. The US military court referred Manning’s case for court-martial in February after a US Army panel of experts declared Manning competent to stand trial last April. Manning’s prosecution has sparked heated debate between defenders and critics. Those who support Manning’s actions refer to him as courageous for acting as a whistleblower against government crime and corruption, comparing him to famous US whistleblowers such as Frank Serpico and Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked information regarding corruption in the New York Police Department and the Pentagon, respectively.

From Jurist, June 26. Used with permission.

See our last posts on Bradley Manning and the WikiLeaks controversies.

  1. Military judge accepts plea terms in Bradley Manning case
    The military judge presiding over the case of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking confidential documents to WikiLeaks, accepted on Nov. 29 the terms of a partial guilty plea put forward by Manning. The decision by judge Col. Denise R. Lind does not bind the prosecution to accept the terms or prevent them from adding charges. Manning offered his guilty plea to seven of the more minor charges earlier in the month through a pleading process called “exceptions and substitutions.” Prosecutors handling the case have not yet indicated if they will accept any portion of the plea terms offered.

    From Jurist, Nov. 30. Used with permission.