Federal Judge Orders Release of Chelsea Manning from Prison

Chelsea Manning outside the U.S. federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., March 8, 2019 (Ford Fischer/News2Share/Reuters)

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release of Chelsea Manning, who leaked classified military information to Wikileaks.

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was jailed last year for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

“The court finds that Ms. Manning’s appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose,” Judge Anthony J. Trenga wrote in his opinion.

“Enforcement of the accrued, conditional fines would not be punitive but rather necessary to the coercive purpose of the court’s civil contempt order,” Trenga wrote.

Trenga’s ruling came days after Manning attempted suicide and was hospitalized. Manning is currently recovering.

Bradley Manning, who took up the name Chelsea while undergoing gender transition, leaked hundreds of thousands of documents from military archives to Wikileaks during his tour in Iraq in 2010. Some of those documents were later found in Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound following the U.S. special forces raid that killed the Al Qaeda leader.

Manning was convicted of five counts of espionage and five counts of theft in 2013. By then named Chelsea, she was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, but eventually sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Former president Obama later pardoned Manning, releasing her from prison early.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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