The presiding judge of the Bradley Manning trial upheld the charge of “aiding the enemy” brought against Bradley Manning. Judge Denise Lind rejected the defense’s motion to have the charge dismissed on Thursday, preceding the closing of the defense’s examination.
Lind felt that Manning’s “training and experience and preparation” were strong enough factors to uphold the government’s accusation that Manning “knowingly” aided the enemy. On July 4, David Coombs, Manning’s lead defense attorney filed to have the lead charge against Manning thrown out by arguing that Wikileaks was a credible news outlet. Coombs argued that Manning never “had ‘actual knowledge’ that by giving information to Wikileaks, he was giving information to an enemy of the United States.”
However, arguing for Manning’s naivety and unawareness and Wikileaks’ credibility wasn’t enough to hold up against the prosecution nor sway the judge. The prosecution argued the very opposite, insisting that Manning clearly had full knowledge of the type of information he had, that the enemy would be looking for such information, and the consequences of releasing the information.
Coombs argued against the prosecution’s claim, saying that “The army does not know whether the enemy goes to Wikileaks. We simply do not know.”
Both the prosecution and defense has rested in the trial and now both sides are awaiting the final verdict. Should Manning get convicted of his alleged crimes, he’s looking at life in prison. However, some law experts believe that even after conviction and sentencing, Manning still has a fighting chance amid claims that the charges are “unconstitutional.”
“The defense will have an appealable issue that could gain traction,” said Yale University senior law research scholar, Eugene Fidell. “The government’s case on the [aiding the enemy] charge is circumstantial, and requires (as always) proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.