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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid