Bradley Manning's lawyer tries, and fails, to get charges dismissed
Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of providing classified information to WikiLeaks.
March 15th, 2012
05:13 PM ET

Bradley Manning's lawyer tries, and fails, to get charges dismissed

The U.S. Army soldier suspected of leaking a trove of classified military and diplomatic information to WikiLeaks cannot get a fair trial because prosecutors have failed to comply with the rules of court-martial, Bradley Manning's attorney said Thursday at a hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland. The hearing is the latest in the Manning case which is expected to go to military trial this year.

Read complete coverage of Manning

David Coombs, a private attorney whose fees have been paid by Manning supporters around the world, handed a military judge a motion to dismiss all 22 charges Manning is facing.

Coombs accused the government of not disclosing information, as required, that could be helpful in defending Manning. Prosecutors have said that the information can not be released because it is classified.

"It's startling, it's frightening to think that's what the government believes is its obligation," Coombs told the judge. "If the government doesn't wish to turn over the items we've requested, they have to go through procedures. They can't just say 'That's classified, denied,' and that's what they've been doing."

Prosecutors told the judge that they have complied with rules governing the mandatory disclosure of non-classified evidence but that the judge has not explained to them how they can disclose evidence categorized as classified. It is common for defense attorneys to seek dismissal of charges as part of their pre-trial strategy, a military briefer told reporters on background during a midday recess.

The judge did not immediately rule on the motion.

Manning is facing charges including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, transmitting national defense information and theft of public property or records. He could go to prison for life.

Coombs hasn't said whether he'll request a trial by a military judge, by a panel of senior officers or by a panel that includes one-third enlisted non-commissioned officers.

He spent much of Thursday's hearing arguing to call witnesses who could address whether the information that appeared on WikiLeaks caused any damage to national security. It's an argument Coombs has made in the past.

Witnesses Coombs wants to call and testimony he says they would provide

Coombs has frequently written about the case on his blog.

The military judge declined several defense motions regarding how prosecutors have worded Manning's charging document. Col. Denise Lind rejected a defense claim that the specifications are too vague to properly defend against. The defense also lost an argument against allowing prosecutors to file a late objection to a judge's review of other pre-trial defense moves.

Prosecutors convinced the judge they deserved to change their mind after not getting e-mail notification of the proposal in time to be considered at an earlier hearing. The e-mail problem was linked with spam filters on government computers that blocked prosecutors from getting e-mails that included the word "WikiLeaks."

Read more about Manning's upbringing in Oklahoma and how he came to be suspected in the WikiLeaks saga

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Filed under: WikiLeaks
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. bobcat2u

    I know it's his lawyers job to do this, but this man betrayed his country, and there is no excuse for that. He willingly didi what he did for personal gain. It obviously didn't matter to him what danger he may have caused. So why should we give a hairy rats behind about him ?

    March 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wavejump1100

    i hope he gets the firing squad. (do they still do that) he committed treason whether he thought what he was doing was right or not. this is a fine example of why gays should not be allowed in the military. at least not effeminate gays.

    March 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Before you shoot the guy, lets convict him of something. I know it's a trivial point, but it's the American way!

      March 15, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ed

    In any country other than US, he would have been shot!!!
    Better yet, send him off to Somalia or Pakistan where he can live with his own kind.

    March 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mad as Hell

    Life in prison with a bunch of other guys will probably be heaven to him. Put him in a Womens prison. Better yet, just shoot the traitor and be done with it.

    March 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hardrain77

    This guy isn't a traitor, he's s WHISTLEBLOWER. His leaks did nothing but embarass a bunch of officers caught celebrating the killing of innocents. Bradley Manning is a courageous hero sold out by a snitch.

    March 17, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. Purple Heart

    Yeah, he BLOWS alright. If you think he is any kind of a "hero" you are seriously deluded pal !!

    March 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dr Veruju

    So much for Habeas corpus
    The charges should be dismissed, they are clearly trumped up.
    This man has been in custody long enough.
    The people who should be on trial are those who in our name authorized and committed the heinous acts, supposedly exposed by Manning.

    March 18, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sid Vicious

    He's a little PUNK

    March 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Anne

    I am former military. I understand what the rules are with regard to handling classified and sensitive material. It does not matter if this man believed he was doing the right thing. It does not matter if the material should not have been classified or sensitive. He knew what the rules were and he knew the penalties, because everyone who has access to these materials is briefed and has to acknowledge. What matters is that he committed crimes against his country. He is a traitor and should suffer the fate of a traitor.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |