FORT MEADE, MD – Accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning will return to the Fort Meade, Maryland, military courtroom today for a two-day pre-trial motions hearing. PFC Manning’s legal defense team, led by attorney David Coombs of Rhode Island, has moved to have all charges dismissed for lack of a speedy trial. This week, November 7 and 8, the prosecution will call its witnesses to the stand to attempt to explain away the government’s extensive delays that have led to PFC Manning’s nearly 900-day pretrial confinement.
This motion has been bifurcated. The government will litigate its portion of this speedy trial motion this week, and will continue their presentations at the next hearing, November 27-December 2, if needed. The defense is scheduled to present its arguments before military Judge Denise Lind during the following hearing, December 10-14.
The prosecution’s repeated and unjustifiable delays point “unmistakably to the conclusion that PFC Manning’s statutory and constitutional speedy trial rights have been trampled upon with impunity,” explained Mr. Coombs in the motion before the court. “The processing of this case has been marred with prosecutorial incompetence and a profound lack of Government diligence. The combination has led to an abject failure of the Government to honor PFC Manning’s fundamental speedy trial rights… For these reasons, the Defense requests this Court to dismiss all charges and specifications with prejudice.”
“To put this amount of time into perspective, the Empire State Building could have been constructed almost two-and-a-half times over in the amount of time it will have taken to bring PFC Manning to trial,” added Mr. Coombs in the court motion.
Mr. Coombs will give his first ever (and possibly only) public presentation regarding “US v. Manning” on December 3, 7pm, at All Souls Church Unitarian, 1500 Harvard Street Northwest, Washington DC. Media is invited to record his presentation hosted by the Bradley Manning Support Network.
PFC Manning’s court-martial is scheduled to begin February 4, 2013, at which time PFC Manning will have awaited trial in confinement for nearly 1,000 days.<--break->