Manning judge orders prosecutors to explain alleged evidence cover-up
In response to calls from the defense, a military judge has ordered US Army prosecutors to detail their effort to obtain and share evidence they collected in the case of Bradley Manning, the man suspected of leaking classified files to WikiLeaks.
Monday’s ruling by Col. Denise Lind is a partial victory for Manning’s defense team, which said prosecutors failed to duly share evidence they plan to present in the military trial. Of particular interest to defense lawyer David Coombs were written assessments by governmental agencies of the damage the leak allegedly caused.
Manning is charged with hurting America’s national security and assisting its enemies by sending classified materials to WikiLeaks, a charge his defense challenges. Coombs says the dragging of feet over evidence-sharing affects the suspect’s right to a fair trial.
Military prosecutor Army Maj. Ashden Fein insists that his team acts in line with its duty while collecting evidence and sharing it with the defense. He said the process was time consuming due to the large number of government agencies it involves.
Yet the judge told prosecutors to draft a "due diligence statement," detailing their work over the two years since Manning was charged. She set the deadline for July 25, but indicated that it may be pushed back if necessary.
Bradley Manning, 24, is facing 22 charges over his actions in 2009 and 2010, when he served as an intelligence analyst at a Baghdad base. He faces possible life imprisonment over the alleged crimes.