Kevin Gosztola, managing editor of Shadowproof.com, appeared on “Democracy Now!” this morning to talk about his most recent coverage of NSA contractor Reality Winner’s case. Billie Winner-Davis, mother of Reality Winner, appeared as well.
“Democracy Now!” was gracious enough to spend nearly half of the program on this case, which went virtually ignored by the U.S. press — even though it is the first major leak prosecution under President Donald Trump’s administration and there was an important hearing on Tuesday.
“I was stunned to see her brought into the room in an orange jumpsuit. I had covered other cases similar to this. And I was under the assumption that she would be brought into a back room, allowed to change into whatever she wanted to wear, and then brought out in those clothes,” Gosztola shared. “When she entered, she had shackles on her feet, she had cuffs. They brought her all the way up to the defense table and then took the handcuffs off. I believe they kept the shackles on her legs, so she sat down with those.”
“Another aspect that I found striking was that they had a marshal. There were two U.S. marshals that were escorting her. One of the marshals sat right in front of her during the entire hearing as it unfolded. He was in her face. He was never staring her down, but he was seated in a way where his body was turned and he was looking towards a corner of the courtroom.”
To Gosztola, this seemed overboard compared to Chelsea Manning’s court martial.
“I know it’s far, far different, but my memory of that was so vivid, of Chelsea just walking in, the marshal allowing her to take her seat. There weren’t any handcuffs, never any shackles on Chelsea’s feet. And it just seems to me that what’s going on here is some serious dehumanization of somebody right before a judge’s very eyes.”
As Reality’s mother noted on the show, there is no trial date currently.
“The trial was originally scheduled for October, and then it was pushed to March. But as of right now, we do not have a new trial date. So we don’t know when she will be—face the jury. What I’m being told is that it will be late 2018, if not early February 2019,” Winner-Davis said.
That means she may be detained for another year before her case goes trial, and since she lost her appeal for bail, there are no longer any options for her to obtain release from jail.
SPECIAL NOTE TO SHADOWPROOF MEMBERS AND PEOPLE WHO RECENTLY DONATED:
A special thanks to all Shadowproof members and those who recently donated to support Kevin Gosztola’s coverage of Reality Winner’s motion hearing in Augusta. You helped us meet and exceed our goal of $500 to fund his reporting trip.
We will put all additional funds toward further coverage of Winner’s case and other whistleblower cases, which may arise in the coming months.
There also were several people with the Central Savannah River Area Peace Alliance, who welcomed Kevin to Augusta and helped him get around the city. We are extremely grateful for what they did.
With the postponement of Winner’s trial, there will likely be more pretrial hearing that are worthy of coverage. We will announce further plans to send Gosztola to Augusta when we learn of the updated schedule.