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Live Blog: Bradley Manning’s April Motion Hearing (Day 3)

UPDATE – 5:00 PM That is all for the motion hearing. I am leaving Fort Meade. I will be returning here in June.

In the meantime, here is an interview I did for Free Speech Radio News this morning on the motion hearing. I believe you have to download an .mp3 to listen. It is available here.

UPDATE – 4:41 PM Judge puts definitions of “knowlege” and “indirect” in “bench book.” That the accused must know the “intelligence” was going to the enemy and that he knew he was giving “intelligence to the enemy through a third party or some other way.” She didn’t deny the motion, but she did state clearly that the government will have a burden of proving this “knowledge” element.

UPDATE – 4:37 PM Aiding the enemy charge is not dropped. Judge Lind finds the charge meets “mental intent” requirement. She decides it is not unconstitutionally broad because it would not endanger any soldier that committed unauthorized disclosures by putting material online because a person does not automatically have knowledge that this will “aid the enemy.”

UPDATE – 4:10 PM Here’s full report that I just put together on government’s argument that “harm” caused by Manning’s alleged leaks not be raised by defense in their case.

UPDATE – 4:00 PM Ruling on dismissal of “aiding the enemy” charge to be read in open court very soon.

UPDATE – 2:00 PM The ACLU on the “aidiing the enemy” charge – the government is overreaching.

UPDATE – 1:00 PM I meet Kai Wargalla, who helped launch Occupy London. She is also a plaintiff in an NDAA lawsuit and is here covering the Manning motion hearing. I want to share her Storifies that she has put together. Here’s her roundups for Day 1 and Day 2.

UPDATE – 12:55 PM The press and public will now wait for a ruling on the motion to dismiss the “aiding the enemy” charge. There may be no ruling today. Judge Lind said whether she issues ruling will “depend on whether I have working automation.”

Don’t speak military? She is talking about Internet problems at Fort Meade, which from my experience tends to happen frequently.

UPDATE – 12:45 PM Specification 1 of Charge II that alleges Manning “wrongfully and wantonly” caused information to be released is not dropped. Judge denies motion. She finds “government is at legal liberty” to charge Manning. There is no “legislative history” that Congress did not want this charge to be levied against a soldier if that soldier was also charged with “aiding the enemy.”

UPDATE – 11:58 AM Defense called on judge to deny motion. More on this soon.

UPDATE – 11:50 AM Government submitted a brief that noted the difference between “damage assessments” and “investigations.” This was to clear up confusion. It is all another aspect of the legal fun and games being played. This is evident because Coombs plainly stated the defense requested both “damage assessments” and “investigations.” So, whether confused or not, all information falling under this term should be handed over to the defense.

The defense indicated it is having an issue getting “working papers.” She will hear a motion against the government on this during the next motion hearing.

UPDATE – 11:49 AM Ruling on dismissing Specification 1 of Charge II – that Manning “wantonly” disclosed information – withheld for now.

UPDATE – 11:40 AM Judge rules on the motion on unreasonable multiplication of charges, which the defense filed because it believed the government was charging a single act twice in some of the specifications under the charges. The judge denied the motion and found that “based on the accused posting to a public website” there was no “unreasonable multiplication of charges.” She added the “government could have broken up” the “aiding the enemy” charge specification and charged that multiple times as he posted sets of documents, but the government did not do this. They could have given him multiple charges that each carried life sentences without parole. Thus, it was clear the government had not engaged in the unreasonable multiplication of charges.

She found the alleged stealing, purloining or conversion of files to be distinct from the transmission, a key reason why motion was not granted in whole or in part.

Original Post

The motion hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, is set to conclude today. A number of motions, such as one to dismiss all charges with prejudice and one to dismiss the “aiding the enemy” charge, have been litigated in open court at Fort Meade in Maryland.

Judge Col. Denise Lind is set to rule on whether the “aiding the enemy” charge should be dropped. She will also rule on whether another charge, which the defense argues is a duplicate of the “aiding the enemy charge, should be dropped and if the government has in fact overcharged Manning by unreasonably charging him multiple times.

The government is then set to argue a motion that would bar the defense from discussing in open court whether Manning’s alleged leaks caused harm. The argument will essentially be that “harm” is not a part of the merits of the charges. Of course, the defense will oppose this because they have been seeking damage assessment reports to build a case and they also believe bringing up “harm” is necessary to putting together a proper defense.

Yesterday’s highlight was an afternoon deliberation over the “aiding the enemy” charge. I covered this in a full report here.

The day’s proceedings should be shorter than the previous days. The only new business is the prosecution’s motion. The judge will not hear anything the defense or prosecution introduces today.

For yesterday’s live blog of the proceedings, go here. The next motion hearing is scheduled for June 4-6. I will, of course, be attending.

Court is to begin at 10:00 am. I will post updates during the short breaks and recesses. You can also follow me for quick updates at @kgosztola. I expect the hearing today to run until the middle of the afternoon.

Kevin Gosztola is the co-author of the new book, “Truth and Consequences: The US vs. Bradley Manning.” He will be doing an FDL Book Salon on April 28 on the recently published book.


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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."