Chelsea Manning says she’ll never testify, seeks release
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning said in a new legal motion that she will never testify to a grand jury in Virginia investigating the website Wikileaks, and it therefore makes no sense to continue to keep her in jail for refusing to do so.
Manning has been jailed in Alexandria for two months for refusing to testify to the sitting grand jury. She appealed her incarceration to the federal appeals court in Richmond, but a three-judge panel unanimously rejected her appeal last month.
Now, in a motion filed Monday in Alexandria, Manning argues she has proven she’ll stick to her principles and should therefore be released.
“At this point, given the sacrifices she has already made, her strong principles, her strong and growing support community, and the disgrace attendant to her capitulation, it is inconceivable that Chelsea Manning will ever change her mind about her refusal to cooperate with the grand jury,” her lawyers wrote.
Federal law only allows a recalcitrant witness to be jailed on civil contempt if there’s a chance that the incarceration will coerce the witness into testifying. If a judge were to determine that incarcerating Manning were punitive rather than coercive, Manning would be set free.
Manning filed an eight-page statement with the legal motion, outlining her intransigence.
“I can — without any hesitation — state that nothing that will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter. This experience so far only proves my long held belief that grand juries are simply outdated tools used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions,” Manning wrote.
She also said she is suffering physical problems related with inadequate follow-up care to gender-reassignment surgery.
Manning served seven years in a military prison for leaking a trove of documents to Wikileaks before her 35-year sentence was commuted by then-President Barack Obama. Since Manning was jailed for contempt, prosecutors in Alexandria have unsealed criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and requested his extradition.
Prosecutors have not yet responded to Manning’s most recent motion. They have previously stated that Manning’s claims she is being persecuted by the Trump administration are speculative and that she has the same duty as any other citizen to provide truthful testimony when subpoenaed.