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Chelsea Manning’s New Lawyers Will Challenge “Frightening” Espionage Act Charges on Appeal

Chelsea Manning’s new attorney Nancy Hollander

At an event at Georgetown Law Center last night, Chelsea Manning’s new lawyers provided a preview of what they expect to happen during the appeals process in her military case.

Nancy Hollander, a defense attorney who has defended various individuals accused of terrorism or national security offenses, and Vincent Ward, a former JAG lawyer with a background in the military justice system, both said they were at the “beginnings” of the appeal. They have not seen the record of Manning’s trial yet, however, they wanted to offer the public, especially Manning supporters, the opportunity to hear what their thoughts are on the legal process which lies ahead.

The “misuse of the Espionage Act,” the over-classification of information, the selective prosecution of individuals by the government for leaks, “unlawful command influence,” “unlawful pretrial punishment,” and violations of “speedy trial rights” will all be issues raised during the appeal.

Hollander said Manning’s convictions for violating the Espionage Act set a “dangerous precedent.” She added, “If this case stands, along with some other recent cases, whoever leaks a single page of classified information or even non-classified information runs the risk of prosecution under this act.”

“The Espionage Act was meant to punish spies and saboteurs and people who steal things from the United States and take them to foreign countries to benefit that country or to specifically hurt the United States. It was never meant for whistleblowers. It should never be used in these kinds of cases,” she said.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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