Sentencing Phase in Bradley Manning’s Trial: Defense Begins Its Case (Live Updates)
4:30 PM EST FYI: It is still unknown when Bradley Manning will give a statement in court. It could be tomorrow, it could be Wednesday.
4:20 PM EST Court is in recess until tomorrow at 9:30 am EST.
4:10 PM Judge Army Col. Denise Lind asked Cpt. Johnson why it was “not uncommon” for an analyst in Manning’s position to be “high maintenance.”
“For whatever reason, they tend to have a sense of entitlement,” Johnson responded. The military tends to get soldiers right out of Army Individual Training who feel “that they’re smarter than the average soldier.” Sometimes they even feel they are smarter than some of the commanding officers.
They “tend to question authority a lot, tend to question orders in their leadership,” Johnson added. They “typically have a problem with authority,” but “not to the point of being disrespectful.” They don’t stand at attention, parade rest and often won’t refer to officers’ ranks, as they should.
If one accepted Cpt. Johnson’s testimony as truth, it would seem the military has a systemic problem with arrogant intelligence analysts.
4:07 PM Going back to prior witness: Maj. Clifford Clausen, the Brigade S2, testified, ““There was pressure on the whole unit to deploy.” Coombs asked all witnesses about this that would have been involved in decision-making around deployment of soldiers. This is significant because it goes to a thread Coombs is trying to pull, which is that the unit would not have left Manning behind if he had exhibited behavior that made him unfit for deployment.
4:05 PM Cpt. Michael Johnson, who served as the collection manager of the intelligence shop up until October 2010, testified that Master Sgt. Paul Adkins had told him not to get “deal with enlisted matters” involving anyone in the shop.
He said Manning engaged in “odd behavior” and he was “generally tardy.”
4:00 PM Cpt. Elizabeth Fields, who served in the Brigade’s intelligence shop, could not remember anything she thought about leadership in the chain of command. Manning’s defense attorney, David Coombs, used sworn statements she had made. But because she had been a first lieutenant and was now a captain, she claimed her mind had been changed and she no longer thought she could say that Master Sgt. Paul Adkins’ supervisory responsibility had been “terrible.”
“With the experience I have gained, I now have a different perspective.” She got promoted. She no longer wants to be critical of people above her in the chain of command because now she knows what it is like to be in their position.
The judge asked how many sworn statements she had made and if those statements would have been true. Fields said yes they would have been at the time.
3:58 PM ESTA government motion for the court to force the defense to hand over a sanity board report on Manning (minus his statements) is granted. See AE #645.
The government decided to press for access to the sanity board report when the defense chose to have Cmdr. David Moulton testify on Manning’s mental health.
3:55 PM EST There are ten new documents that have been uploaded today for the public to peruse: seven new Appellate Exhibits, one Prosecution Exhibit (PE #93) and the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s morning and evening transcripts from Friday’s court session.
3:20 PM EST Cpt. Michael Johnson will follow Cpt. Freeburg on the witness stand.
3:08 PM EST Cpt. Matthew Freeburg, who had Manning removed from the intelligence facility and put in the supply room, took the stand as a defense witness.
3:05 PM EST A guard picked up a Wi-Fi signal while court was in session and was walking around looking for it. It went off moments later.
When the press tried logging on to the network in the media center, the press all simultaneously got the message that another computer was using the same IP address.
2:26 PM EST Maj. Clifford Clausen, Brigade S2 in Manning’s unit, took the stand as the fourth defense witness.
Clausen says that their unit was about a third “under strength” when it came to having a number of intelligence analysts necessary. Yet Clausen maintained that Bradley Manning could have been left behind if there had been a decision for him not to deploy.
Clausen was shown a memo from MSGT. Paul Adkins and said that he would’ve expected to be informed of this information.
2:22 PM EST Maj. Elijah Dreher, who served in Manning’s chain of command, was the third defense witness.
Dreher was relieved of command around December 2010/Jan 2011. “He (Dreher) was untruthful about property accountability reports.”
Dreher would’ve expected to be informed if Manning had reached for a weapon. “That’s not something you allow to happen without any recourse.”
12:45 PM EST Lt. Col. Kerns, who served as 2nd Brigade Officer in Bradley Manning’s unit, took the stand as the second defense witness.
Lt. Col. Kerns made critiques of the unit during an Army investigation that he was hesitant to repeat in court.
12:35 PM EST An angry outburst wouldn’t necessarily be cause for major disciplinary action, Col. Miller testified.
12:30 PM EST “Do you believe that you can make a difference and it matters?” Col. David Miller said in testimony. That is “where self-worth comes from.” So, this is something that will be put before soldiers struggling with behavioral or mental health issues.
Officers may try to help them understand the “importance of the mission.” “All the way up to national security and preserving America’s life,” Miller added, that could be critical component of ”balanced spiritual, mental and physical health.”
12:25 PM EST Col. David Miller said that, in his assessment, Manning “seemed pretty squared away.” He was “articulate and had a pretty good understanding of the information that he had.” But, as has been said before, “I think he had a way to go with the analysis piece.”
11:35 AM EST The Judge addresses the leak of a 16-second video that was posted by someone in the public overflow trailer at Bradley Manning’s trial.
Because the leaked video came from the overflow trailer, the judge says that “additional security rules will be imposed for overflow trailer only.” Judge knew video was recorded on the day prosecutors gave closing arguments in the trial.
Judge Lind: “The overwhelming majority of the media and spectators have behaved with decorum befitting of courtroom and respect for the court’s rules.”
The 16-second video taken had no news value. It merely showed the military that there had been a security breach that needed a response. Had it given any real measurable transparency to a process that the public deserved from the military, I think there would have been a different reaction.
11:30 AM EST Col. David Miller, Brigade commander in Bradley Manning’s unit, takes stand as first defense witness.
Col. Miller’s testimony focuses on what authority he had to decide not to deploy soldiers; failures of officers in Manning’s unit.
9:55 AM EST David Coombs and the defense submitted a list of witnesses they expect to call. There are seven listed for today, including Col. David Miller. The other six names have been redacted in the copy of the document made available to the public.
9:35 AM EST We’re going into session now.
The defense in Bradley Manning’s trial is scheduled to start its case for the sentencing phase today. Manning is expected to give a statement in military court at Fort Meade at some point before the defense rests on Wednesday.
For eight days, the government called witnesses to present evidence of alleged actual damage or harm that had been caused by Manning’s disclosures of information to WikiLeaks. Somewhere around twenty hours of proceedings took place in open court while just over eleven hours of the sentencing was closed for classified testimony given by government witnesses. So, approximately a third of the government’s sentencing case was closed.
Anything meaningfully connected to the offenses the judge convicted him of committing was presented in secret, concealed from the press and public because it involved information not declassified for the process. Declassifying information could have made it seem the process was much more fair and open.
This means the preponderance of evidence prosecutors believe they have against Manning will not be known to the public when he is ultimately sentenced. The press will have what came out in open court but won’t know what in closed sessions influenced the ultimate decision. (This is a prime feature of a national security leaks case.)
During sentencing, the military judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, adopted a highly unusual procedure where she was allowing testimony that was potentially improper or inadmissible to be given in court by government witnesses. The defense would object and she would take note. She would then issue a ruling on the evidence and whether it was admissible or not a day or two later.
Jesselyn Radack, an attorney who has represented whistleblowers and works for the Government Accountability Project, reacted, “Prosecutors presenting evidence in court even though Judge Lind may rule it inadmissible the next day is prejudicial and inflammatory. I know she believes that she can erase things from her memory if she decides later it’s impermissible, but the press surely cannot.”
She added, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, because far too much of this trial has been in secret, but this is the sort of thing that should be worked out in closed session.”
Because Manning decided to be tried by a judge and not a panel (which is like a jury), the judge has played two roles throughout the trial: one as the fact-finder and one as the interlocutor. As an interlocutor, she reviews whether evidence is admissible. That evidence can then be legitimately considered when determining her ultimate verdict on Manning’s sentence.
There are fifteen or so reporters here in the media center. AP, AFP, Courthouse News, Alexa O’Brien, Bradley Manning Support Network, Huffington Post, WBAI, Reader Supported News, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times and a few other organizations are here. I am not sure if the New York Times sent someone to cover today’s proceedings (but there are a couple reporters here, who are new faces).