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Defense Begins its Case in Bradley Manning Trial Today

Defense Begins its Case in Bradley Manning Trial Today

The defense will kick off its case Monday morning in the court martial of US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, who stands accused of leaking more than 700,000 files, many of which included classified information, to Wikileaks.  The prosecution rested its case last week in more than 20 counts against Manning, including charges related to computer fraud, espionage and aiding the enemy.

Defense attorneys are expected to present a case that Manning did not intentionally aid the enemy and that his decision to leak the files was perhaps naïve, but well-intentioned.  Some experts say that argument will have more importance during the sentencing phase.

From NY Daily News:

When Manning’s lead attorney David Coombs opens the defense on Monday, experts interviewed by Reuters said his best option was to show that Manning thought he was doing the right thing and never intended to damage the United States.

Geoffrey Corn, a professor at the South Texas School of Law in Houston, said the judge may be swayed by the “misguided motive” strategy based on the argument that Manning meant no harm to the nation.

“He didn’t have a subjective illicit motive. Subjectively, he convinced himself he was doing right,” he said.

[…]

Jeffrey Addicott, a law professor at St. Mary’s University Law School in San Antonio, said he expected the defense to stress that the Crescent, Oklahoma, native did not intend to harm the United States but that its argument would not succeed.

Addicott, who heads the school’s Center for Terrorism Law, said in an email that the bulk of the defense case would come at sentencing, “where they will argue ‘unintended consequences’ and sorrow for what he did.”

Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said the defense could argue Manning was not aware that the classified material was potentially sensitive since access to it lacked safeguards. It could also contend there had been an overbroad labeling of files as secret, she said.

Manning has already admitted to leaking the classified material.  He offered in February to plead guilty to ten of the lesser charges related to espionage and computer fraud counts, but prosecutors rejected the offer.

The prosecution last week presented evidence that it contends supports the aiding the enemy charge, citing references to some of the documents leaked by Manning that ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.  It has also sought to prove that Manning’s actions were in response to Wikileaks’ public solicitation for such information, as presented in the prosecution’s opening statement.

Meanwhile, the trial is open to the public and Manning’s supporters are  planning a vigil on behalf of the Army private as defense proceedings get underway Monday morning.  They have also launched a support campaign on Twitter under the hashtag #defendbrad, which will presumably cover Monday’s activities.

Unofficial court transcripts are available daily at the trial’s transcripts page on the Freedom of the Press Foundation website.

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Comments

Henry Hawkins | July 8, 2013 at 11:51 am

Just posting to let Mandy know at least one LI reg is not particularly interested in the Zimmerman case.

so the defense is this:
my hissy fit was not supposed to get noticed.

I am intrigued that this case has been conflate with that of Snowden by the left.

I don’t think we have enough information about the latter, and his revelations to know yet what should be done with him – whether he is a hero, a villain, or somewhere in between.

Manning, on the other hand, is a cut and dried traitor, and if found guilty should face a firing squad.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to 18-1. | July 9, 2013 at 4:18 am

    You stole my thoughts . Manning is a crumb & Snowden does not exist until he is there in the flesh.

Speaking from direct first hand personal experience in administering databases and ODBC functions within DOD … I, for one, will not be happy until those persons who enabled a freaking PFC/E-3 to access “over 700,000” documents and files over databases within DOD and outside of DOD to boot are also tried for dereliction of duty. Manning was assigned “roles & permissions” far in excess of his actual role in Army Intelligence. His immediate supervision as well as the IT contractor, and sundry Db administrators, are guilty of gross neglect of their duty.

Phillep Harding | July 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

The criminals I grew up with saw nothing wrong with what they were doing, and “meant no harm” (to themselves).

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