After five days of U.S. prosecutors presenting evidence in support of their prosecution of Pfc. Bradley Manning for releasing a trove of classified information to WikiLeaks, the young soldier's own lawyers called just two witnesses and rested their case before lunch, surprising the military courtroom in Ft. Mead. "It was all over so quickly we had assumed that the closing statements would come this afternoon," writes Dominic Rushe on The Guardian's live blog of the hearing. The government had called 21 witnesses since the hearing started on Friday, resting its case that Manning aided the enemy, among other charges, on Tuesday. The Associated Press reported that the only two witnesses Manning's defense called were "a sergeant who witnessed one of Manning's fits of rage in Baghdad and a captain whom the 24-year-old Oklahoma native served under in Iraq." Manning's civilian lawyer, David Coombs, had initially asked for 48 witnesses, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, to give testimony. As The Guardian points out, "it was of no real surprise that neither Clinton nor Obama were called to give evidence during the five days of testimony. But eyebrows may be raised over the fact that defence were banned from calling witnesses to give evidence regarding Manning's state of mind." Coombs and his team were reportedly denied permission to call a psychiatrist and a psychologist after the prosecution argued their testimony wasn't relevant. Manning's defensive strategy does appear to focus on his mental health, however, and the argument that he shouldn't have been given access to the sensitive information in the first place.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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