News / USA

Lawyer Argues WikiLeaks Soldier Had Good Intentions

Watch video story by VOA's Brian Padden

Bradley Manning's defense attorney David Coombs and his wife arrive at court for closing remarks in Manning's trial at Fort Meade, Maryland, July 26, 2013.
Bradley Manning's defense attorney David Coombs and his wife arrive at court for closing remarks in Manning's trial at Fort Meade, Maryland, July 26, 2013.
Luis Ramirez
A military judge has begun deliberations in the case of U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, accused of leaking U.S. secrets and aiding the enemy. Manning's court-martial proceedings are taking place at Fort Meade near Washington, and are winding down after nearly two months.

In closing arguments Friday, defense lawyer David Coombs asked the military judge to consider whether Bradley Manning is a traitor, with no loyalty to the United States, or a young, naïve and well-intentioned soldier and whistleblower whose main motive was saving human lives and bringing about positive change in the world.  

The 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst could get a life sentence if the judge rules he is guilty of aiding the enemy by releasing 700,000 secret files to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Those files include thousands of State Department and military emails, messages, reports, and videos including one that shows a U.S. helicopter gunship firing on civilians in Baghdad. In releasing the files, Manning claims he sought to shed light on the actions of the U.S. government and bring about reform.

Defense Makes Its Case in Manning Wikileaks Triali
X
July 26, 2013 7:32 PM
The defense summarized its case Friday in the court-martial trial of Bradley Manning - the Army private who sent hundreds of thousands of U.S. government documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. VOA’s Brian Padden reports that the case will now go to the judge for deliberations.
Manning has pleaded guilty to releasing the files while he was deployed in Iraq. Those charges alone could result in a 20-year prison sentence.  

Military prosecutors, in their closing arguments a day earlier, described Manning as an anarchist who released files he pulled from government computers and leaked them for the purpose of gaining notoriety - knowing they would be seen by terrorists including Osama bin Laden.  

The prosecutors said Manning - with his training as an intelligence analyst - would have known the information that included detailed reports on roadside bomb attacks on U.S. troops would put the lives of American soldiers in danger.

His attorney on Friday countered the charges, arguing that Manning did not give the files directly and secretly to the enemy, but rather supplied them to WikiLeaks, which the lawyer described as a legitimate news organization.

Coombs accused the prosecution of taking some of the evidence out of context. One example is a photo that Manning took of himself. The prosecution says it shows him smiling after sending files to WikiLeaks. Manning is homosexual. His lawyer on Friday noted the photo shows Manning wearing makeup and a bra and is smiling because it shows him being himself at that moment.

Morris Davis is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo who testified in Manning's defense. Davis said he does not see Manning as a hero, but believes the government may have gone too far in bringing the aiding-the-enemy charges.  

“I don't condone what he did in releasing classified information, and he's pled guilty to that, so I think he ought to be held accountable for what he did. But I think it's a case where the government is overreaching and overcharged in order to make an example of Private Manning to keep others from pondering the same steps that he took in the future,” said Davis.

The case has drawn a number of civil liberties activists to the proceedings. Some have been credentialed as members of the media. On Friday, the judge ordered one of those supporters out of the courtroom for allegedly posting threatening messages regarding some of the court-martial participants.

In his rebuttal Friday, the prosecutor said Manning was not naïve and was fully aware of his actions.

The judge is expected to issue a verdict in the coming days.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs