Military judge rejects request to dismiss charges in WikiLeaks case
POSTED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 11:30am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 11:51am
NATIONAL NEWS (CNN) — A military judge denied a request Wednesday to dismiss all the charges against the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department documents while serving in Iraq.
The charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, transmitting national defense information and theft of public property or records.
His trial date is set for September 21. He could go to prison for life if convicted.
In asking the court to dismiss all charges, Manning's lawyer alleged "widespread discovery violations" by military prosecutors, but the judge, Col. Denise Lind, rejected the dismissal motion.
Manning's lead lawyer, David Coombs, argued this week that because prosecutors did not understand the discovery rules, he and his fellow attorneys have not been given information that could help in Manning's defense.
For example, Coombs said, of the 15 computers in the secure area where Manning worked as intelligence analyst, 10 of those computers' hard drives had been wiped clean. He also said that of the remaining five computers, evidence was found indicating many soldiers added unauthorized software.
One of the charges against Manning accuses him of adding software to computers to allegedly allow him to download classified documents.
The chief prosecutor, Maj. Ashden Fein, told the court this week that the prosecution team has been looking all along for information that they would be required to turn over to the defense and that they do turn over all they are required to as soon as possible.
Coombs also asked the judge to order the turnover of damage assessments reports created by several federal agencies that examined the problems caused by the release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents by WikiLeaks.
Lind told prosecutors to get those reports from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, the State Department and the Justice Department and provide them to her so she may review them in private before ruling on whether Manning's attorneys can see them.
The CIA has been granted a delay until May 2 to respond to the request, and the State Department is preparing a document showing why it doesn't have to provide damage assessments under the court's rules.
Coombs, a civilian attorney being paid for by Manning supporters, hasn't said whether he'll request a trial by a military judge, a panel of senior officers or a panel that includes one-third enlisted noncommissioned officers.
-- CNN's Larry Shaughnessy and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.