Trials & Litigation

Prosecutor calls Manning a traitor at WikiLeaks case closing; defense says he was young and naive


Pfc. Bradley Manning is a traitor who joined the U.S. Army and deployed to Iraq with the intention of using his computer skills to disclose classified information that he knew would aid terrorist organizations throughout the world, a prosecutor said in closing arguments at his court martial.

“He was not a naive soldier,” said Army Maj. Ashden Fein, responding to contentions by Manning’s civilian lawyer in the Fort Meade, Md., case.

Defense attorney David Coombs, a military veteran, argued that his client, now 25, was young, naive and idealistic when he disclosed some 700,000 classified items, including combat videos and state department cables, according to the Chicago Tribune, Courthouse News and the Los Angeles Times (sub. req.).

As his personal emails showed, Manning was concerned about the well-being of others rather than personal benefit, Coombs told the judge, Col. Denise Lind, urging her to consider what was in his client’s mind at the time, the Tribune reports.

“That is a whistleblower,” said Coombs. “That is somebody who wants to inform the American public.”

However, Fein portrayed Manning as glorying in the celebrity he expected to obtain as he spent many hours transmitting documents to WikiLeaks and chatting with the website’s founder, Julian Assange, on the Internet, the Times article recounts.

“The only human Pfc. Manning ever cared about was himself,” Fein told Lind. “He was interested in making a name for himself. The flag meant nothing to him.”

If convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge he faces in the espionage case, Manning could be sentenced to life without parole.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Court-martial begins in WikiLeaks case for soldier Bradley Manning”

ABAJournal.com: “Soldier pleads guilty to giving Wikileaks classified info but denies ‘aiding the enemy’”

ABAJournal.com: “Judge in Bradley Manning leak case refuses to toss charge of aiding the enemy”

Associated Press: “WikiLeaks Trial Winds Down After 90 Witnesses “

The Guardian: “Bradley Manning defence rests after calling just 10 witnesses”

Nation Now (Los Angeles Times) “Bradley Manning was naive, good-intentioned, defense says in closing”

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