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Manning’s Lawyer: Government Withholding 250,000 Pages Of Damage Assessment Reports

Manning’s Lawyer- Government Withholding 250,000 Pages Of Damage Assessment Reports

In this file photo taken Dec. 22, 2011, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted from a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning made a rare appearance on Wednesday at a military court at Fort Meade, outside Washington, D.C., at the start of a three-day pretrial hearing that is pitting his lawyers against the U.S. government.
The 24-year-old Oklahoma native is on trial for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cable and military logs from Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks while serving as a low-ranking intelligence analyst.
First on the agenda for his defense team: Seeking a dismissal of 10 of the 22 counts against him. In motions filed ahead of the hearing, Manning’s lawyers said the government used “unconstitutionally vague” or “substantially overbroad” language in eight counts of their indictment, in which Manning is accused of “possession and disclosure of sensitive information.”
For two other counts, in which he is accused of “having knowingly exceeded authorized access” to a secret Defense Department computer network, the defense said the government failed to state an offense.

Struggle for information
Even before the hearing began, Manning’s civilian lawyer, David Coombs, lodged a motion with the court alleging that the government is withholding 250,000 pages of damage assessment reports relating to the WikiLeaks transmission.
In the motion, published on his website, Coombs wrote that the government has revealed to him in a throwaway footnote that it has the pages, relating to Manning, WikiLeaks and secret official assessments of the damage that the massive lead caused to U.S. interests around the world, in its possession.
None have been handed over. “If so, this is very disconcerting to the defense,” said Coombs, who himself has a military background.
Hi claims that military authorities are playing word games in order to keep avoiding his requests for disclosure.
“By morphing, distorting and constantly changing definitions, the government is trying to ‘define’ itself out of producing relevant discovery,” he complained. “It cannot be permitted to do this.”
Manning, who was formally charged in February, faces a Sept. 21 trial — and a possible life in prison.

source: MPN


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