August 30, 2012

Day three: Bradley Manning Article 39a motion hearing

In the final day of this week’s motion hearing for Bradley Manning, Judge Lind announced the new court martial schedule, again delaying the Article 13 motion, and slating the trial to start February 4, 2013. See day one coverage here, and see day two coverage here.

By Nathan Fuller. August 30, 2012.

On the closing day of PFC Bradley Manning’s latest motion hearing at Ft. Meade, we didn’t even make it to lunch before Judge Denise Lind announced the court was in recess. Over the short morning session, Judge Lind announced the updated court martial schedule, made a few rulings to admit Government documents as evidence and to take judicial notice of defense-proffered facts.

The new court martial schedule is as follows:

• October 17-18: witness list to be argued for defense’s speedy trial motion

• October 29 – November 2: defense’s motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial; witnesses for Article 13 unlawful pretrial punishment motion hearing

• November 27 – December 2: defense’s motion to dismissed based on Bradley’s illegal treatment at Quantico

• December 10 – 14: witnesses and evidentiary issues for trial

• January 14 – 18: how the court will handle classified information during trial, likely either with closed sessions or coded language to avoid “spillages” of secret information

• January 28 – 29: any remaining pretrial motions

• January 30: questioning of potential jury members

• February 4 – March 15: court martial trial

The Article 13 motion to dismiss, first scheduled for this week, then for October, will now be litigated at the end of November. In the meantime, Coombs will review the 600 new emails the prosecution gave him this week, and Judge Lind will review for relevance the 700 emails the prosecution gave her. From both of those new productions, Coombs may discover more potential witnesses he’d like to call to testify.

After the schedule, Judge Lind ruled to allow the Government’s redacted version of classified CIA and DIA reports on WikiLeaks. She’ll also take judicial notice of the date that David Finkel’s book The Good Soldiers was published – the defense brings the book to the court’s attention because it includes a transcript of the Collateral Murder video, and was published well before Bradley was accused of releasing it. However, Lind won’t officially acknowledge that the book contains a verbatim transcript, saying the defense has yet to prove that.

We proceeded to the defense’s motion to take judicial notice of several statements made publicly by government officials regarding WikiLeaks. Among the statements was a letter from Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ letter to Senator Carl Levin.

Objecting to the motion, the prosecution said it was fine with taking notice of fact that the statements were made, but didn’t want the court to officially acknowledge the content of the statements. Confused, Lind asked, “If there’s no content, what’s the point of admitting them?” The prosecution had no answer, saying that was for the defense to argue.

Furthermore, the Government argued that the court shouldn’t take judicial notice of the statements because many of them were made to reporters, instead of prepared remarks made to other government officials. Seeming not to believe the argument, Lind asked if the prosecution disputes the veracity of statements made by government officials. Prosecutor Capt. Morrow said yes, it does.

Judge Lind, who delayed this discussion yesterday, again decided that she didn’t have enough information. She asked both parties to submit additional briefs explaining the legal nuances of their positions, said that the statements will be argued in October instead, and called the court to recess.

As he did yesterday, Bradley’s lawyer David Coombs greeted each Manning supporter in the doorway as we exited, thanking us for showing our support.

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