Bradley Manning wins documents battle

2012-06-26 09:06
AP

AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Wikileaks
    WikiLeaks is the most challenging journalistic phenomenon to have emerged in the digital era. It... Now R229.00
    buy now
Fort Meade - A US military judge has ordered prosecutors to show they are not withholding evidence from WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning after defence lawyers accused them of hiding documents that could potentially help their client's case.

The ruling was a victory for Manning, whose defence team has argued for months that prosecutors are dragging their feet on requests for government files that could prove crucial in the trial of the Army private.

Manning, aged 24, accused of handing over a massive trove of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website, smiled at his attorneys after the judge read out her decision at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, northeast of Washington.

Judge Denise Lind ruled that prosecutors would have to turn over reports from the CIA, the FBI, the State Department and the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive that assessed the impact of the leaks.

Manning's lawyers believe the assessments will show the disclosures had no major effect on the country's national security and did not "aid the enemy" as the government alleges.

But the judge ruled against a request for documents related to WikiLeaks from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, saying it was not relevant to the case.

'Due diligence'

Under Lind's decision, the prosecution will have to give a detailed account showing it met legal obligations to share all pertinent evidence with the defence.

In a statement of "due diligence", the prosecutors would have to show when they obtained documents, why they were not shared with the defence and to what extent they had queried dozens of agencies about relevant papers, she said.

The judge imposed a deadline of 25 July on prosecutors but indicated she would be willing to give them more time if necessary.

Manning's civilian attorney, David Coombs, had asked the judge to suspend the proceedings while the prosecutors prepared their "due diligence" statement, but that request was not granted.

Lind did leave open the possibility that the defence could ask for time to review any new evidence that emerges.

Coombs had argued earlier on Monday that government prosecutors had displayed a "pattern" of obstruction on document requests that "should cause alarm to the court".

Complex case


The government's explanation for why some files were unavailable "defies logic" and violated the bedrock legal principle that a defendant must have access to the same evidence as his accusers, Coombs said.

"This is not the way the discovery process works," he added.

Prosecutor Major Ashden Fein denied the government was sitting on evidence that could help Manning and said "the defence is disregarding the complexity of this case", which involves hundreds of thousands of documents.

Manning supporters who attended the hearing at Fort Meade, northeast of Washington, welcomed the decision.

"It's definitely heartening that David Coombs's arguments are resonating with the judge," said Zach Pesavento, a spokesperson for the Bradley Manning support network.

"It appears they [prosecutors] may have been essentially lying to the court," about the availability of some documents requested by the defence, he said.

Political prisoner?


"We believe that truth is ultimately on Bradley's side," he added.

Manning has been condemned as a traitor for his alleged role in the worst ever breach of US intelligence, which embarrassed Washington and dismayed US allies.

But his supporters view him as a political prisoner and say WikiLeaks has blown the whistle on government wrongdoing and excessive secrecy.

Manning could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of aiding the al-Qaeda terror network by leaking the documents. He has not yet entered a plea.

Among those watching the proceedings were lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who faces his own legal drama.

Assange walked into the Ecuador embassy in London last week seeking political asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning on sex crime allegations.

Assange fears that once in Sweden he could be whisked away to the United States, where he believes he will face potential charges.

Read more on:    wikileaks  |  chelsea manning  |  julian assange  |  us  |  espionage  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Dewani Trial
 

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.