Just after Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday — and before Manning’s announcement of a gender transition earlier today — independent journalist Alexa O’Brien sat down with Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, for his first interview about the case. O’Brien was one of only a handful of journalists to cover the entire Manning trial and was the first to make transcripts of the proceedings publicly available. We air the interview in a Democracy Now! exclusive. Coombs talks about the government’s use of classified evidence, Manning’s reaction to the sentence and how much of the court record was hidden from the public. "I can’t believe that was actually the sentence he received," Coombs tells O’Brien. "Anyone who sat through the hearing and heard all the evidence, even in the closed sessions, there is not evidence there where you would think 35 years would be the appropriate sentence. I wonder now if there had actually been damaged or if he had really intended to harm the United States or wanted to obtain personal gain from selling classified information, just what the sentence would have been. Because this was a person who had true intentions. He wanted to help America. He wanted to get people to think about what was going on in Iraq. He didn’t have an evil motive in what he did."
Army Private Bradley Manning was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison and dishonorably discharged for leaking more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. The sentence is much longer than any punishment given to previous government officials who have leaked information to the media. Manning could be released on parole in about seven years. In a statement released just after the sentencing, Manning has asked President Obama for a pardon. "When I chose to disclose classified information I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others," Manning said in a statement read by his attorney, David Coombs. "If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society."
- Manning Seeks Presidential Pardon for 35-Year Prison Term
- Manning Announces Gender Transition, Name Change
- Manning Supporters Rally for Pardon Outside White House
- Hundreds Feared Dead in Unverified Syria Chemical Attack
- U.S. Awaits Evidence on Syria Claims; Protesters Stage White House Rally
- Mubarak Ordered Released from Prison
- New Radiation Areas Found at Fukushima Nuclear Plant
- NSA Illegally Gathered Tens of Thousands of Emails
- Report: Federal Program Targets Muslim Immigrants