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Sentencing Phase in Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 10 (Live Updates)

Manning defense lawyer David Coombs. Illustration by Clark Stoeckley.

11:14 AM EST  Why derogatory information wasn’t done in response to Manning’s conduct is the focus of the defense’s cross-examination.

Multiple incidents and instances of behavior were known to MSGT Adkins. He could’ve suspended Manning’s clearance temporarily with derogatory information, but it never happened.

CW2 Balonek suggests that MSGT Adkins kept him out of the loop on the “particular issue we’re dealing with now,” -Manning’s behavior.

Original Post:

The defense for Pfc. Bradley Manning will continue to call witnesses today, as they put on their case in the sentencing phase of Manning’s trial.

Manning, who was found guilty of twenty offenses, including multiple violations of the Espionage Act, two weeks ago, is still expected to give a statement in court. That will happen before the defense rests its sentencing case on Wednesday or Thursday.

Yesterday’s witnesses were called to the stand to testify on whether the Army had been under pressure to deploy Manning to Iraq. It came out that his unit was at least a third “under strength” when it came to intelligence analysts. This raises the question of how much officers ignored any mental health or behavioral problems Manning may have had prior to deployment.

Defense attorney, David Coombs, also focused on the lack of leadership in Manning’s unit from superior officers and whether officers had taken proper disciplinary action when Manning had outbursts while stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Baghdad.

Before proceedings were over yesterday, the judge issued a ruling granting a government motion for the court to force the defense to turn over a sanity board report minus Pfc. Bradley Manning’s statements, which had been put together when reviewing whether Manning was mentally fit to stand trial.

Coombs argued prosecutors were not entitled to the report because Manning’s mental condition had not been raised in court prior to the judge’s verdict. However, the judge agreed with the government, since the defense is going to call a witness who is a psychology expert to testify on Manning, the government was entitled to the report.

*

Once again, media conditions at Fort Meade become a part of the story of the trial.

Public affairs officers have informed the press that they must park their cars at least twenty-five to fifty feet away from the media center. This is because independent journalist Alexa O’Brien accidentally left a Wi-Fi device on in her car that she was using. It was detected yesterday by a guard while court was in session. O’Brien has a remote so she was able to turn it off when it was discovered. This morning the judge is apparently having press park further away to prevent us from using Wi-Fi devices in our car.

Here’s the deal: it was not done on purpose. No person in here was actually trying to get around the rules. There are also rules for electronic devices not coming into the media center, but, if someone accidentally brings one to the inspection, they are not told they will be removed from the media center. They are asked to go take the device back to their car. No overreaction occurs, however, in response to Alexa, the judge is overreacting.

Also, public affairs officers now inform press that we must be seated 5 minutes before court begins. The press also cannot leave the media center and reenter the media center while court is in session. Both rules are entirely impractical and unreasonable and there is no valid security purpose other than to maintain this farce that the media center is connected to the courtroom and to further control reporters trying to do coverage.

Press is constantly reminded that the media center is an “extension” of the courtroom. The military should have actually built a media center connected to the physical courthouse if they wanted to maintain this fantasy. From December 2011 to June 2013, this was not stringently applied so that people were subjected to punitive and restrictive conditions the public might have to follow when sitting in the gallery. Public affairs officers were flexible with press trying to do jobs.

Apparently, after the 16-second video was posted online, the judge threatened to shut down the media center, even though that would have been completely unwarranted because the leak did not come from a credentialed reporter. Public affairs was put in the position of having to defend keeping the media center. They had to convince the judge they were capable of securing the media center from what they might call further “courtroom violations.”

No officer should have had to do that, and the fact that the judge is escalating restrictions on press about a week before this trial is likely to be over (if all goes as planned) is nothing less than abusive. She spoke about how the overwhelming majority of media and the public had behaved “with a decorum befitting of the courtroom and respect for the court’s rules.”

If that’s true, the punitive measures against media, which undercut freedom of the press should be rolled back. There are guards here on duty inspecting reporters. There are public affairs officers monitoring reporters’ activity. There is no additional need for rules grade school students might be required to follow. And it also strains reason to think that reporters will respect officers here on base if they are subjecting press on a daily basis to this increasingly unjustified security regime of which the press has no input at all.

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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."