[Pnews] Chelsea Manning Can Remain in Jail for Another Year, Judge Rules

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 7 11:38:45 EDT 2019


  Chelsea Manning Can Remain in Jail for Another Year, Judge Rules

Dell Cameron - August 7, 2019

Chelsea Manning, a former Army intelligence 
analyst-turned-whistleblower, may remain behind bars for up to another 
year and face nearly a half-million dollars in fines over her ongoing 
refusal to testify before a grand jury about her disclosure of 
classified information to WikiLeaks.

A federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia on Monday denied a 
filed by Manning’s lawyers for a hearing requested to press the court to 
reconsider its sanctions, which include jail time—not to exceed 18 
months—and financial penalties that may ultimately total around $441,000.

“I am disappointed but not at all surprised. The government and the 
judge must know by now that this doesn’t change my position one bit,” 
Manning said in a statement to Gizmodo.

Manning, 31, was taken into custody in early March after declining to 
answer questions before a grand jury concerning her past association 
with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization founded by Julian Assange, 
who is currently battling extradition to the U.S.

Assange faces an 18-count indictment, issued by U.S. Justice Department 
this May, including alleged violations of the Espionage Act 
for publishing classified information that Manning provided in 
2010—including thousands of secret diplomatic cables and battlefield 
reports—while she served as an Army intelligent analyst in Iraq.

Manning has stated that she has a moral objection to testifying before 
the grand jury 
and that no amount of jail time will compel her to testify. Legally, she 
can only be imprisoned as part of an effort by the court to coerce her 
into testifying. Her time in jail is not supposed to be punitive.

Her attorneys argue that she’s shown her resolve is unwavering and that 
the sanctions are ineffective. Thus, her time in jail cannot be 
considered coercive, an attempt to compel her testimony. U.S. District 
Judge Anthony Trenga, however, says he’s convinced otherwise. On Monday, 
he denied Manning’s attorneys the opportunity to further argue their 
case before the court.

“In support of the Motion, Ms. Manning has proffered a substantial 
number of financial records detailing her assets, liabilities, and 
current future earnings,” he wrote. “The Court has reviewed these 
records and concludes, based on the evidence proffered, that Ms. Manning 
has the ability to comply with the Court’s financial sanctions or will 
have the ability after her release from confinement.”

Trenga added that “based upon the nature and volume of documents,” a 
hearing “would not aid the decisional process.”

Manning’s attorneys said the judge’s decision was “unexpected,” that she 
is currently “deeply in debt,” and cannot work while incarcerated. 
Therefore, they argued, she cannot afford the fines that may ultimately 
be imposed.

“Chelsea will remain confined for another year, and will face ongoing 
financial hardship, unless Judge Trenga or a higher court are convince 
of what Ms. Manning has always publicly maintained: that the sanctions 
imposed will never coerce her compliance and therefore are entire 
punitive,” her legal team said.

It remains unclear as to what information U.S. prosecutors hope to 
attain from Manning’s testimony. Her interactions with WikiLeaks were 
all detailed during her court-martial six years ago, and logs of her 
conversations with Assange are already public record.

The continued existence of the WikiLeaks grand jury itself remains a 
mystery given the scope of the charges already brought against Assange. 
No evidence presented during any previous hearings, nor any publicly 
available to date, suggest that Manning had interactions with anyone 
other than Assange himself.

While Manning’s imprisonment for civil contempt may not exceed 18 
months, she could be released earlier, if the grand jury is dismissed 

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