Former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning, has been sent to jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.
U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for contempt of court on Friday after a brief hearing in which Manning confirmed he has no intention of testifying. He told the judge he “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”
Manning has said he objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process, and that he already revealed everything he knows at his court martial.
The judge said Manning will remain jailed until he testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work.
Manning’s lawyers had asked that he be sent to home confinement instead of the jail, because of medical complications he faces.
The judge said U.S. marshals can handle his medical care. Prosecutor Tracy McCormick said the jail and the marshals have assured the government that his medical needs can be met.
Manning anticipated being jailed. In a statement before Friday’s hearing, he said he invoked his First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment protections when he appeared before the grand jury in Alexandria on Wednesday. He said he already answered every substantive question during his 2013 court-martial, and is prepared to face the consequences of refusing to answer again.
“In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available,” Manning said.
Manning served seven years of a 35-year military sentence for leaking a trove of military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website before then-President Barack Obama commuted his sentence.
McCormick said Manning can easily end this incarceration on the civil charge simply by following the law and testifying.
“We hope she changes her mind now,” McCormick said.
Manning’s lawyer, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, said she believes jailing Manning is an act of cruelty given his medical issues, and said Manning’s one-bedroom apartment would be a sufficient manner of confinement.
Outside the courthouse, about 10 protesters rallied in Manning’s support.
“Obviously prison is a terrible place,” Meltzer-Cohen said. “I don’t see the purpose to incarcerate people.”
The WikiLeaks investigation has been ongoing for a long time. Last year, prosecutors in Alexandria inadvertently disclosed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing unspecified, sealed criminal charges in the district.
WikiLeaks also has emerged as an important part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election, as investigators focus on whether President Donald Trump’s campaign knew Russian hackers were going to provide emails to WikiLeaks stolen from Democratic organizations, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.