Bradley Manning's lawyer tries to get charges dismissed
US Army Pfc Bradley Manning arrives for court hearing at Ft. Meade, Maryland
March 15th, 2012
07:08 PM ET

Bradley Manning's lawyer tries to get charges dismissed

By Paul Courson

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.

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.

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."

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soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. JmikUSAF

    He haS done no wrong but expose the wrongs our "government" is doing. He hasn't published any classified information because it was NOT DEEMED CLASSIFIED. I support his actions and he will be freed.

    March 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  2. RetiredVet

    Manning is a P.O.S. that should be hung for treason.

    March 17, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
    • wjshelton

      That would be "hanged", Vet; and I think he should be given a medal for outing war crimes and other illegal actions by the US. Oh, and before you begin dumping on me for being a traitor, a worthless piece of fecal matter and a no-good liberal coward, know that I put on a uniform over forty years ago, but I didn't surrender my ability to think and reason when I did so, unlike many who wear the mantle of being a veteran to justify intolerance and otherwise unacceptable values. Bro, you ain't any better than anybody else, just because you wore a green or blue suit.

      March 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  3. USA MinuteMan

    I agreed with you GUNNERY SARGEANT

    March 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  4. Captain America

    Soldiers who are aware of war crimes have an obligation to blow the whistle. Films of the war crimes being committed were posted by wikileaks at collateralmurder.org. Something is very wrong that the war criminals are free and the one soldier with the courage to blow the whistle is locked up. Shame on the USA! Shame on all the enemies of justice who falsely judge Manning!

    March 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • jim

      he misappropriated and provided classified materials to everyone including enemies of the US, it doesn't matter what was in those materials. That is what spies do , not US soldiers.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
      • Josh

        it absolutely does matter what information was leaked. and as a soldier he does have an obligation to protect the U>S.A from all foreign and domestic enemies, and i would say our soldiers who are killing innocent civilians are domestic enemies that put our nations security at risk by angering the family members of the dead to maybe help out AL-queda.. this is not a black and white world just because something is classified does not mean it deserves to be secret.

        March 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
      • Rhett

        You cant just go over seas and play an Xbox war game in real life with people. To be on point, you should consider international rules engage which time and time again have been not only called into question, but classified as a complete and utter joke on the US part. All I hope is that the Manning Legacy lives on, and during the next war people are not with celerity grabbing a machine gun to kill another person. I would rather turn the bullet on myself.

        March 17, 2012 at 4:00 am |
      • Jim

        No it doesn't matter what the contents are. Disclosing classified material is a violation of the law, and if you are in the military it is a violation of the UCMJ.. Even if you are the only one on the road, a stop sign still means stop. Cops can't make up there own laws.

        March 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • Josh

        have fun living in your black and white world

        March 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Buzzer

      We don't even know the type and nature of information that Manning "leaked"...that includes your unsubstantiated claim of "war crime" film footage...

      March 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Reply
      • Captain America

        To make a long story short, anyone with the ability to distinguish right from wrong can see from by watching the film(s) on: http://www.collateralmurder.org that the men were murdered in cold blood. This is a huge scandal that has been spun by the forces of corruption/deception. They have learned to trust that many people will unquestioningly take their word as truth. The truth is that Bradley Manning is a hero. Those who have called for him to be punished are siding with villainsin this situation. Far too many Americans have been led to believe many huge lies. We are led to believe that our military "keeps us free" and "defends democracy". Despite the fact that those lies are repeated billions of times, they remain lies. The truth is that our military serves corporate interests and always had. War is terrible for the people and great for big business. If it wasn't so damn profitable for the super rich, we would be waging peace instead of war.
        http://www.KillingHope.org

        March 17, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  5. mick

    hurry up and execute this traitor.he sold out your country and the free world.and dont give me the shit about how his rights and freedom allowed this.he sold you out and probably caused the deaths of people fighting for real freedom.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Reply
    • Mike Merritt

      "Traitor" = the Israelis who paid for 9/11

      March 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
      • Lana

        mike: check your facts before making ignorant comments. i would love to hear what you think is going on in the middle east....probably far from the facts

        March 16, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • Snoles56

        I see you forgot to take your medication again...

        March 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • John Wehland

      What does the military fight for anyway? We think it fights for freedom right? Get out of here with that crap! Our military fights for money! Call it what you want, corporations, big business, the super rich, mercantilism, bling, it just comes down to money. American's love money more than freedom and now guess what sucker? Your stuck with the curses of one and just a meagre portion of the other. Our country got what it deserved. We're ripping ourselves to peaces just like we did to the Native Americans.

      March 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  6. Gunnery Sgt. 0311 KE

    Well for me I have deployed 4 times. I have watched my brothers fall. The real question "Concerned Citizen" is what the fuck have you done? All I see you bitching about is Israel.... WHO FUCKING CARES!

    March 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  7. Captain Beard

    He released information, like civilian's being slaughtered, that the U.S. should be sharing with us. You pay for the war and you deserve to see everything the military has done since day one. Iraq and Afghanistan has been two huge losses and we should just pull out.

    March 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Gunnery Sgt. 0311 KE

      There are things that the civilian population need not to be informed about because of security reasons within theatre operations. Just because you want to know something, doesn't neccesarily mean that you need to know. First and foremost, until the United States civilians can fundamentally understand that we are actually in a war and give a crap about what we are doing instead of thinking they know because they sit on youtube all damn day and watch short clips of news blasts or in this case go on WikiLeaks and think they comprehend what they are reading. Media has changed the way we fight wars. Pfc. Manning you deserve to be hung for treason because you have put your fellow brothers in arms in even more harms way. I understand that people think they have a right to know info.... Even if you did know everything going on in the War, What would you actually do to change the situation?

      March 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Reply
      • jim

        agreed, manning swore an oath, he is not a civilian, he is a traitor, everyone wants to hang Sgt Bales, he needs help. Manning needs hanged

        March 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
      • Buzzer

        He will be executed...no doubt. For all folks that praise him for "blowing the whistle"...strange that not ONE member of the military has repeated what he's done...seem to say something about the poor character of this individual.

        March 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
      • John Wehland

        No Buzzer it doesnt reflect on the poor character of Manning it reflects on the fact that the military has successfully cowed any copycat releases. Everyone saw what they did to Manning from day 1. The military wasn't ashamed or wanting to hide his treatment, they were very glad it got the media coverage it did. Now everyone knows not to mess with command. Cause if you do, your going away for a long time. The only thing you need to do is to keep on following orders. It wasn't about security. It was about freedom of information and free speech.

        March 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  8. Albuquerque, Turkey

    Its Simple let manning get off with this and then re-write the rules of the court-marshal thats where this is going.

    As for all the hate of this guy its meh when the politicians talk about potential "Casualties" due to the leak they mean "It makes me look crooked and could cost me an election" Thats the casualties and if said leak is so damageing to a politician he/she probably shouldn't be in office. Honesty is always the best policy.

    The only people who were physically hurt due to the leak deserved it Mubarak, Gadaffi, and hopefully more dictators.

    March 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Reply
    • jim

      doesn't matter, the material was classified, you can't have it , it's not yours, and Manning swore to protect it by enlisting , he wasn't drafted, he chose his career options , he did exactly opposite what he swore to do. He is a traitor.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  9. A Patriot

    Bradley Manning is a hero!

    History will show this, the true heroes were despised in their lifetimes.

    March 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      Patriot? No way. He violated the law just like the Rosenbergs during and after World War 2. There is no getting around the fact that Bradley installed an unauthorized program to download this information from his computer. He didn't have to give up the information to a foreign operative (Assange) either, but he chose to break the law and violate his oath of allegience without a single care to the people that he may have endangered or killed. History will eventually show and only show the number of people arrested and executed for his gross dereliction of duty and callous decision to enable our enemies during a time this nation is at war. Declared or not, his actions declare him to be a traitor, not a patriot. Your short-sightedness and rationalizations will do nothing for him and only make you look silly, as the facts are clean and readily available.

      March 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
      • jim

        OK, me too..........Patriot ??????

        March 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Buzzer

      ...and you're "hero" will be 6 feet under shortly, and NOBODY will remember him years from now.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  10. Catamount

    Bradley Manning is a flaming homosexual traitor. He enlisted under “Don’t ask, don’t tell”, raising his hand and swearing an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Yet he opposed the wars. Why volunteer into an Army at war if you oppose them? Because he is a fag crusader seeking societal acceptance of his perversions. His pansy narcissism triumphed over selfless service to his country.

    When mocked for his aberrant behavior, like fellating his cross-dressing boyfriend at Advanced Individual Training at Fort Huachuca, he resorted to violence, including beating up girls including the punching his fellow soldier Specialist Shulman in the face. This resulted in his demotion and revenge designs.

    He downloaded over a half million classified documents and splashed them on wikileaks, betraying real human sources who were trying to help, betraying service members, diplomats, allies. There is no treachery greater than infiltrating an organization with intent to subvert its missions and imperil the lives of fellow Americans. There is nothing noble in this. The damage dwarfs that of Benedict Arnold. Apologizing or making excuses for Manning reflects poorly upon his apologists.

    As fellow flaming homosexual Senator Barney Franks (Democrat, Massachusetts) slipped legislation through the evil democrat super majority Congress to end “Don’t ask, don’t tell” Manning was having charges preferred against him. The incorrigibly leftist media repressed the story, the facts, that conflicted with their propagandistic message. The narrative was that homosexuals wouldn’t destroy unit esprit and deserved the right to serve honorably, but Manning was patent evidence to the contrary.

    While Manning should be punished to the maximum extent possible, that just means being incarcerated for life at Fort Leavenworth where he’s happily the prom queen of the cell block.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • Portland tony

      All very interesting, but before you pass sentence, lets have a trial. Trivial point, I know, but this is America!

      March 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
    • wjshelton

      Catamount, you have dished quite a heap of homophobic bovine fertilizer. What gave you such a hard on for homosexuals? Are you hiding something?

      March 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  11. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/enemies-list/

    March 16, 2012 at 7:36 am | Reply
  12. mipolitic

    he regerts

    March 16, 2012 at 4:58 am | Reply
  13. mipolitic

    who cares, he is a traitor

    March 16, 2012 at 4:56 am | Reply
    • concerned citizen

      Ur a fucking traitor, sukk more cokk.

      March 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
      • jim

        wow , you really showed your intelligence with that one

        March 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
      • the wise

        Hmm..ill ask your opinion, until then fuck off

        March 17, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • Buzzer

      jim/mipolitic- this individual is just another of the multiple trolls lurk around this forum using juvenile profanity and consistently "inserting" anti Israeli comments into EVERY article regarless of the issue being discussed...pretty pathetic.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:01 am | Reply
      • Jim

        Lol ,saw that

        March 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  14. concerned citizen

    Stop fighting Israeli wars my good comrades.

    You owe them nothing. Not your pity, and certainly not blood and treasure.

    Tragic things if this sort will continue, as long as we bloody our hands on israels behalf.

    Jewsagainstzionism.com

    March 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • Christian

      . the united states has made it their place to get involved with these matters. look at the leaders. i agree that america should stick to their problems and handle them first, but our country has always been regarded highly for helping others that don't necessarily have the ability or resources. so if you are against america helping israel are you also against them helping other countries? i don't think either is wrong but we can't just pick and choose certain countries to help. Education is key

      March 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
      • aRomero

        @Christian:
        I agree. I think the situation in Israel is one that does need the assistance of the United States because when dealing with HAMAS who knows what can happen. They are ruthless and Israel is under a huge microscope

        March 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
      • John Wehland

        Lol, "You can't just pick and choose who to help?" and "education is key?". That's so funny because we do pick and choose. Let me just tell you who some of the losers are Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Syria, and Sudan. Those are some of the countries we ignore for one reason or another. However, what's more interesting are the ones we like, but who dont like us back, for one good reason or another.

        March 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  15. Hahahahahahaha

    Send him for a "hike" in Iran! Hahahahahahaha

    March 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply
    • concerned citizen

      What valorous things have you done, to talk ill of this man???

      March 15, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Reply

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