Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bradley Manning's defense attorney on Manning's prison sentence.

From the GUARDIAN coverage of Bradley Manning's 35-year prison sentence for whistle blowing:

Here's a summary of the news conference with David Coombs, defense attorney for Bradley Manning:
• The Manning legal team is formally applying to President Barack Obama for a pardon "or at the very least [to] commute his sentence to time served". Requesting a pardon, Manning will tell president Obama he acted "out of a love to my country, and a sense of duty to others".
• Manning, who will be imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, comes up for parole in seven years, Coombs said. If parole is not granted he would receive a new parole hearing each year. Coombs vowed to master the legal intricacies of parole requests and to carry the Manning case forward. 
• Coombs held out hope that Manning would be released "in the near term": "I'm hoping that he goes on with life and becomes productive. If so this doesn't have to define him."
• Coombs described shock and sadness at the length of the sentence, which he depicted as unfair. After the sentence was read he and his legal team cried, Coombs said. Manning did not cry. "He looks to me, and he says, 'It's OK. IT's alright. I know you did your best. I'm going to be OK. I'm going to get through this."
• Coombs said the trial was unfair because it was closed. "A lot of stuff that happened would not have happened, because the American public would see it and say, 'that's not fair,'" Coombs said. 
• The long sentence would discourage future potential whistleblowers, Coombs said: "This does send a message, and it's a chilling one."
• The Edward Snowden case emerged at an inconvenient time for the Manning defense, Coombs said, in the sense that government frustration over whistleblowers was redoubled. "But it also had some benefits for us," Coombs said, "because it brought attention back to [Manning's] case."

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