This Thursday and Friday, March 15 & 16, I attended Bradley Manning’s motion hearing at Ft. Meade, MD. We held vigils outside the gate before the hearings began both days, and several supporters came inside the courtroom to show solidarity with the 24-year-old whistle-blower.
I took as detailed notes as I could each day in court, and I published those notes here.
The first day is especially long, so I’ll give a quick synopsis of the major deliberations here:
On Thursday, the defense and prosecution debated the defense’s motions to bring evidence, namely FOIA requests and damage assessments, and witnesses, namely soldiers and Army personnel who’d testify about why they classified documents Manning’s accused of leaking.
The damage assessments are particularly important because we believe they reveal the government concluded that very little to no harm had resulted from WikiLeaks’ releases, which would be damning to the prosecution’s argument that Manning put lives at risk.
Thursday’s most dramatic moment: Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, argued that the prosecution had so mischaracterized military law in order to block damage assessments from the court – contending that even if they were to turn over the three million pages of reports now, it’d set the trial back six more months and Manning another hundred days in prison – that he filed a motion to dismiss all charges.
Coombs called the prosecution’s mischaracterization “gamesmanship,” and this became more clear when the prosecution announced it could not speak on the relevance of the documents Coombs was trying to see because they are classified.
On Friday, private conferences delaying the proceedings were long, and the proceedings themselves were awfully short. The judge denied Coombs’ motion to compel the witnesses, said she’ll deliver a ruling on the evidence, and set the next hearing for April 24-26. Bradley’s 660th day in prison passed without getting a court martial date.
Here are my interviews with WBAI radio on Thursday (beginning at 1:10): http://t.co/leFdlyl3
and Friday (beginning at 2:50): http://t.co/BNuyzPGY
I also encourage you to see Alexa O’Brien’s transcript and Kevin Gosztola’s coverage, as both are incredibly thorough and diligent, and media coverage of Bradley’s case owes a great deal to both.