By Dell Cameron
August 08, 2019 “Information
Clearing House” – Chelsea Manning, a former Army
intelligence analyst-turned-whistleblower, may remain behind bars for up to
another year and face nearly a half-million dollars in fines over her ongoing
refusal to testify before a grand jury about her disclosure of classified
information to WikiLeaks.
A federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia on Monday
denied a motion filed by Manning’s lawyers for a hearing requested to press
the court to reconsider its sanctions, which include jail time—not to exceed 18
months—and financial penalties that may ultimately total around $441,000.
“I am disappointed but not at all surprised. The government and the judge
must know by now that this doesn’t change my position one bit,” Manning said in
a statement to Gizmodo.
Manning, 31, was taken into custody in early March after declining to answer
questions before a grand jury concerning her past association with WikiLeaks,
the anti-secrecy organization founded by Julian Assange, who is currently
battling extradition to the U.S.
Assange faces an 18-count indictment, issued by U.S. Justice Department this
alleged violations of the Espionage Act for publishing classified
information that Manning provided in 2010—including thousands of secret
diplomatic cables and battlefield reports—while she served as an Army
intelligent analyst in Iraq.
Manning has stated that she has
a moral objection to testifying before the grand jury and that no amount of
jail time will compel her to testify. Legally, she can only be imprisoned as
part of an effort by the court to coerce her into testifying. Her time in jail
is not supposed to be punitive.
Her attorneys argue that she’s shown her resolve is unwavering and that the
sanctions are ineffective. Thus, her time in jail cannot be considered coercive,
an attempt to compel her testimony. U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga, however,
says he’s convinced otherwise. On Monday, he denied Manning’s attorneys the
opportunity to further argue their case before the court.