By CNN Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Maryland (CNN) - The attorney for the Army private suspected of being behind the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history again failed to get the investigating officer to recuse himself at a military hearing.
The Army Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday night denied a motion from Bradley Manning's lawyer, who appealed the officer's refusal to remove himself from the proceeding earlier in the day.
The United States has charged the 24-year-old Manning with 22 counts of violating military code, ranging from the theft of records to aiding the enemy. Experts say conviction on the latter charge would be likely to land Manning in prison for life. But, if a general sees fit, the law would allow Manning to be eligible for the death penalty.
Manning's Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing that will determine whether enough evidence exists to merit a court-martial, is expected to last at least a week.
Most of the first day of Manning's hearing focused on the defense motion that Lt. Col. Paul Almanza recuse himself. Almanza is the investigating officer who oversees the hearing and will make a recommendation when it's complete about what, if any, charges Manning should face at court martial. D
efense attorney David Coombs alleged that Almanza may be prejudiced and should step down. Among Coombs' objections was that Almanza, an Army reservist, has a conflict of interest because of his civilian job with the Justice Department, which is investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Coombs moved that Almanza recuse himself, Almanza denied that motion and Coombs immediately appealed to the Army Court of Appeals, which denied Coombs motion again.
Manning is accused of leaking more than a quarter of a million classified Pentagon and State Department documents that ended up on the WikiLeaks website.