Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > Uncategorised > USA: Judge won’t reconsider daily fines against Chelsea Manning for refusing (...)

USA: Judge won’t reconsider daily fines against Chelsea Manning for refusing to testify

Thursday 8 August 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/judge-wont-reconsider-daily-fines-against-chelsea-manning-for-refusal-to-testify/2019/08/07/cf9bcfc6-b913-11e9-b3b4-2bb69e8c4e39_story.html

Legal Issues
Judge won’t reconsider daily fines against Chelsea Manning for refusing to testify

Photo: Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning talks to reporters on May 16 before entering the federal courthouse in Alexandria. (Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)

By Rachel Weiner

August 7 at 9:36 AM

Chelsea Manning will not get a hearing to challenge steep daily penalties imposed for her refusal to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

In an order issued Monday, Judge Anthony J. Trenga in Alexandria federal court said there were no “reasonable grounds†to reconsider his decision to impose the fines, which started at $500 per day and have now risen to $1,000. Manning, 31, who was first jailed in March for refusing to testify, could be in jail for up to 18 months, and her attorneys estimate that the total cost will be close to half a million dollars.

Her attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen said Manning “expects to remain†in jail for about 400 more days. She added that while they are “evaluating our legal options . . . above all right now we are all working to strategize for her long-term health and welfare.â€

Manning had argued that she wasn’t able to pay the fines and asked for a hearing to make that clear. Trenga found that she “has the ability to comply . . . or will have the ability after her release from confinement.â€

In a statement Wednesday, Manning said: “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.â€

Prosecutors wanted Manning to testify about her interactions with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, to whom she leaked thousands of classified government cables in 2010. Manning spent seven years in a military prison for her disclosures before President Barack Obama ordered her release.

Since Manning was sent to jail in March, Assange has been arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act. She argues that her testimony is therefore no longer necessary; grand juries can investigate only uncharged crimes. But prosecutors have argued in filings that her testimony is “relevant and essential to an ongoing investigation into charges or targets†beyond Assange.

°°°

Source: https://gizmodo.com/chelsea-manning-can-remain-in-jail-for-another-year-ju-1837022114

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

Dell Cameron

Yesterday August 8, 7:32am

Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning speaks with reporters, after arriving at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Thursday, May 16, 2019.
Photo: Cliff Owen / AP

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 motion 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.

Article preview thumbnail
The U.S. Government Has Amassed Terabytes of Internal WikiLeaks Data

Late last year, the U.S. government accidentally revealed that a sealed complaint had been filed…
Read more

“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.

“[T]he sanctions imposed will never coerce her compliance and therefore are entire punitive.â€

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.â€

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

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 beforehand.