Manning to seek presidential pardon: attorney

posted at 8:01 am on August 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Facing a 35-year sentence for the largest dissemination of classified material in US history, Bradley Manning doesn’t have a lot of options on the table.  Manning admitted to some of the charges before the court-martial in a bid to lighten his eventual sentence, and apologized to the court. Now his attorney says he will go to President Barack Obama to request a pardon to spring Manning from Leavenworth:

The fight to free Pfc. Bradley Manning takes a new turn as he returns to prison to serve a 35-year sentence for leaking classified information and his lawyer says he will ask the Army for leniency — and the White House for a pardon.

Even Manning’s supporters have pivoted. During the sentencing hearing Wednesday, they wore T-shirts reading, “truth,” as they had for the entire court-martial. Hours later, they had changed into shirts saying, “President Obama: Pardon Bradley Manning.”

“The time to end Brad’s suffering is now,” defense attorney David Coombs told a news conference after Manning’s sentence was handed down. “The time for our president to focus on protecting whistleblowers instead of punishing them is now.” …

The sentencing fired up the long-running debate over whether Manning was a whistleblower or a traitor for giving more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents, plus battlefield footage, to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. By volume alone, it was the biggest leak of classified material in U.S. history, bigger even than the Pentagon Papers a generation ago.

The only two routes for Manning now are appeals and a pardon.  The appeal option probably isn’t terribly realistic, for a couple of reasons.  First, as mentioned above, Manning admitted to a significant portion of the case, and his guilt in releasing the material has never been in doubt.  Being found guilty on this basis is hardly a miscarriage of justice, at least in the trial-process sense.  Given the scope of the crime, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces isn’t likely to proclaim Manning a whistleblower, despite what his lawyer and Wikileaks’ fans think.  This isn’t a Pentagon Papers situation — Manning didn’t discriminate in his leaks, but instead exposed seemingly everything within his grasp.

Unfortunately for Manning, the pardon option is even less likely.  First, there hasn’t been a President as parsimonious with pardons than Barack Obama.  For instance, while Eric Holder has proclaimed prior prosecutions and sentencing in the war on drugs as unjust — an arguable position — Obama hasn’t done a thing to correct those implied specific injustices, at least not until now.  With Obama in full pursuit of Edward Snowden, who has a better case to make as a whistleblower, he’s even more unlikely to cough up a pardon for someone who appears to have exposed American secrets out of spite.

Manning will be waiting in Leavenworth for a long time for that pardon.  According to a new statement from Manning, he’d prefer to wait it out as Chelsea Manning and get sex-change therapy:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Unfortunately again, Leavenworth doesn’t have those facilities:

Coombs said he is “hoping” that Fort Leavenworth “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy for Manning. “If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so.”

The facility does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity issues but does provide psychiatric care, a Fort Leavenworth spokeswoman told Courthouse News earlier this week.

In the U.S. prison system, transgender prisoners who have not had genital surgery are generally assigned to live with their birth-sex peers, but the military policy is unclear.

It’s going to a long and unhappy wait for Manning on all of these fronts.


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Oh well

cmsinaz on August 22, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Chelsea Manning will be popular in Leavenworth.

myiq2xu on August 22, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Manning should have gotten the death penalty or a life sentence.

The vile, traitorous brat must pay.

bluegill on August 22, 2013 at 8:12 AM

I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.

And still ugly.

rhombus on August 22, 2013 at 8:13 AM

What a pathetic loser.

AZCoyote on August 22, 2013 at 8:14 AM

He’s homosexual and wants a sex change. I can see Obama giving him a pardon, to ‘make up for past bigotry by uptight Christian Conservatives’.

I see no form of liberal causes or favorites being beneath Obama.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Oh yes, he’ll get hormone therapy at Leavenworth, inserted rectally, I’m sure.

hip shot on August 22, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Damn right.

Cylor on August 22, 2013 at 8:18 AM

…good luck!…he’s literally trying to save his butt!

KOOLAID2 on August 22, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Why do we get lectured that people such as Manning are “normal’ and “natural”.
They are not. And should not ask us to treat them otherwise.

Jabberwock on August 22, 2013 at 8:22 AM

It’s unfortunate that the US Military no longer has hanging as a means of execution, and that Manning wasn’t given the death penalty.

Manning should have been charged with multiple counts of negligent homicide. The documents he released included the names of many Afghans cooperating with US forces, and shortly after they were published, the Taliban began searching for, and killing, anyone on those lists.

I hope Manning’s stay in Leavenworth is long and unpleasant. He deserves no less.

TKindred on August 22, 2013 at 8:22 AM

So let me get this straight. The gay traitor wants the taxpayer to fund his “transformation?” Yeah, lots of luck with that.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:23 AM

Give Manning the sex change operation, but make him/her do the 35 year prison sentence in an Islamic country, preferably one of the countries he/she set on fire with leaked cables.

thuljunior on August 22, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Well now, isn’t this a fine mess….

Look on the bright side Chelsea….maybe now,
Carlos Danger will send you a “Selfie”!

ToddPA on August 22, 2013 at 8:26 AM

So let me get this straight. The gay traitor wants the taxpayer to fund his “transformation?” Yeah, lots of luck with that.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:23 AM

You think there won’t be a lawsuit over his ‘right’ to be who/what he wants to be? Homosexuality is the new ‘civil rights’ movement. The liberal homosexual activist crowd will make a stink over it if Manning doesn’t get his way. I bet some will say he’s only in prison because he is homosexual. How far the effort gets depends on the media.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:27 AM

Manning is no whistleblower. He’s a homosexual traitor who betrayed the oath he took when he enlisted. He did harm to this nation. I’m sure he’ll have plenty of opportunity to be Chelsea even without hormone therapy.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Manning is no whistleblower…
Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Ummmm…LOL

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM

And boobies, according to his latest manifesto low information media is all over.

MNHawk on August 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM

You think there won’t be a lawsuit over his ‘right’ to be who/what he wants to be? Homosexuality is the new ‘civil rights’ movement. The liberal homosexual activist crowd will make a stink over it if Manning doesn’t get his way. I bet some will say he’s only in prison because he is homosexual. How far the effort gets depends on the media.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:27 AM

It is an interesting strategy. The media made much about how cruel and unusual the treatment was when the little gay bastard was in solitary. But if he/she/it isn’t a male or female, are the angling for a release on the basis they have nowhere to house the bastard?

And BTW, I don’t know who I despise more. Manning or any lawyer that would defend him.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Ummmm…LOL

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Mind out of the gutter Liam! ;0

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:32 AM

He might have a chance at that if he had shot an Australian baseball player in the back…

HiJack on August 22, 2013 at 8:35 AM

If the sex change or hormone therapy is not offered can his lawyer scream about the “War on Women.”

docflash on August 22, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Look on the bright side Chelsea….maybe now,
Carlos Danger will send you a “Selfie”!

ToddPA on August 22, 2013 at 8:26 AM

The Constitution has prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:37 AM

It’s going to a long and unhappy wait for Manning on all of these fronts.

No it won’t. There will be lawsuits, bad press, and all sorts of embarrassment until Leavenworth decides that it’s easier to just give him the hormone therapy and get on with it.

Bradley will exit Leavenworth as Chelsea as soon as he has served minimum time. He will have gotten his sex change operation, which will be paid for by the very people whose trust he betrayed. He will write a self-centered, whiny tell-all book, will be the toast of the news/talk shows, and will never have to worry about where his next dollar is coming from.

He should have been executed.

stoutcat on August 22, 2013 at 8:38 AM

For instance, while Eric Holder has proclaimed prior prosecutions and sentencing in the war on drugs as unjust — an arguable position — Obama hasn’t done a thing to correct those implied specific injustices, at least not until now.

And my post on that thread:

Obama is incredibly stingy with the pardon relative to other presidents. Bush the Elder was kind of stingy as well, but he looks like Santa Claus compared to Obama. According to Wiki Bush the Elder issued 77 pardons, the fewest since Garfield who issued none. And that was because he was assassinated early in his term. Obama? 16. 16! Two presidents did not issue pardons, but they don’t really count because of very early exits. Of those who have issued pardons Obama is currently tied for having given out the fewest. We have to go back all the way to Washington to see few pardons given out. Not only that, Obama’s pardons seem to be the most cautious pardons in history.

James Bernard Banks, of Liberty, Utah, sentenced to two years of probation in 1972 for illegal possession of government property.

Russell James Dixon, of Clayton, Ga., sentenced to two years of probation in 1960 for a liquor law violation.

Laurens Dorsey, of Syracuse, N.Y., sentenced in 1998 to five years of probation and $71,000 in restitution for conspiracy to defraud by making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration.

Ronald Lee Foster, of Beaver Falls, Pa., sentenced in 1963 to a year of probation and a $20 fine for mutilating coins.

Timothy James Gallagher, of Navasota, Texas, sentenced in 1982 to three years of probation for cocaine possession and conspiracy to distribute.

Roxane Kay Hettinger, Powder Springs, Ga., sentenced in 1986 to 30 days in jail and three years of probation for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Edgar Leopold Kranz Jr., of Minot, N.D., who received 24 months of confinement and a pay reduction for cocaine use, adultery and bouncing checks.

Floretta Leavy, of Rockford, Ill., sentenced in 1984 to 366 days in prison and three years of parole for drug offenses.

Scoey Lathaniel Morris, of Crosby, Texas, sentenced in 1991 to three years of probation and $1,200 restitution for counterfeiting offenses.

NotCoach on August 16, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Manning would have better luck getting a pardon from a ham sandwich.

NotCoach on August 22, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Ed,

If at all possible, could you not have a picture of this traitor in uniform? It insults the memory of all the young men and woman that died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

AOTC

Agent of the Cross on August 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

“Unfortunately again, Leavenworth doesn’t have those facilities:” ewhat the heck!! It is” unfortunate ” my tax money isn’t used to sex changes?? What a crock Manning needs god not estrogen.
Throw away the key. Pardon by Obama?? I wouldn’t put it past the gay lover to do that.

Bullhead on August 22, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Ed,

If at all possible, could you not have a picture of this traitor in uniform? It insults the memory of all the young men and woman that died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

AOTC

Agent of the Cross on August 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I second that.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:46 AM

If at all possible, could you not have a picture of this traitor in uniform? It insults the memory of all the young men and woman that died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Agent of the Cross on August 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Amen AOTC! I agree with you completely.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:49 AM

This site should start using pictures of Manning as a woman. Isn’t it what he wants?

bluegill on August 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

First, there hasn’t been a President as parsimonious with pardons than Barack Obama.

Just wait until Jan 2017!

Blake on August 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

The fight to free Pfc. Bradley Manning

He’s It (not a male, not a female, not a hermaphrodite) is no longer a Private, First Class. Is it a buck private or even something less?

rbj on August 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

rbj on August 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Manning got a dishonorable discharge yesterday. Not that the media mentioned that much- too busy figuring out just how little time “Brad” was really going to be in prison.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Just wait until Jan 2017!

Blake on August 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

No kidding. Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and Lois Lerner among them.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Before or after we pay for his sex change?

southsideironworks on August 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Ok kiddies, just remember, homosexuals are normal or something.

sentinelrules on August 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM

The real shame, according to a news article, is that Manning has almost four years off his sentence, for time served plus 112 days. He can be eligible for parole in eight or nine years. That doesn’t mean he’ll get it, of course.

I wonder where he’ll serve. If Leavenworth, I hope it’s the maximum security section instead of the medium security wing. Let him put up with those Marine guards for the next thirty years.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Manning got a dishonorable discharge yesterday.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Which should make the anti-Second crowd happy. He can never again legally own a firearm.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 9:03 AM

rbj on August 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM,

I haven’t read the entire sentencing, but with a Dishonorable Discharge and 35 years in Leavenworth, you would have thought the judge would have also reduced him in rank to Private (E-1). If so, someone should have cut the PFC chevrons off his blouse so he would be paraded out of the Court Martial in the proper uniform.

Also, since he is a self-professed homosexual, what makes you all think he won’t “enjoy” his time in Leavenworth. ;-)

GAlpha10 on August 22, 2013 at 9:06 AM

He can be eligible for parole in eight or nine years. That doesn’t mean he’ll get it, of course.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM

He will. Provided, of course, he has good behavior. And plenty of time to write “Being Chelsea” or whatever the little gay bastard intends to call his book.

Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 9:14 AM

At least Lady Gaga got his back…

patman77 on August 22, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Chelsea, you have an call from Mayor Filner.

Little Boomer on August 22, 2013 at 9:19 AM

IIRC, the Big Chicken Dinner won’t be served until his prison time is finished.

In other words, even though the courts martial ordered him to receive a dishonorable discharge, that won’t be imposed while he is still incarcerated. The reason is that he can thus be still governed by the UCMJ, and subject to military discipline. If he had been discharged at once, he’d be subject to civilian courts, which are much more lenient.

TKindred on August 22, 2013 at 9:19 AM

He should be pardoned.

iwasbornwithit on August 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Interesting handle you got there.

iwasbornwithit on August 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM

“The time to end Brad’s suffering is now,” defense attorney David Coombs told a news conference

I totally agree with Coombs. They should have taken the traitor out back and shot him ending everyone’s suffering in this.

deepdiver on August 22, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Manning and his supporters are a very weird bunch; they remind me of the tinfoil hat wearing crowd. Hard to classify, not really “liberals” so much as “freaks.” We need new term for them.

kdlee on August 22, 2013 at 9:29 AM

I’m sure there are lots of people there who will be willing to think of Manning as a girl.

Chris of Rights on August 22, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Ed,

If at all possible, could you not have a picture of this traitor in uniform? It insults the memory of all the young men and woman that died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

AOTC

Agent of the Cross on August 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I second that.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:46 AM

And not just the ones that died, but served. Anywhere.

Thirded. Call for vote. All in favor say aye.

AYE!

Chris of Rights on August 22, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Manning is no whistleblower…
Happy Nomad on August 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM
Ummmm…LOL
Liam on August 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM

His career as a whistleblower is just beginning…

cornbred on August 22, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Since Mr. Manning has gender identification issues it might be proper to use a female firing squad.

Art on August 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Manning’s mother devastated by 35-year sentence.

I would think you would be more devastated by having raised such an unpatriotic and mentally unbalanced son.

Which should make the anti-Second crowd happy. He can never again legally own a firearm.

Liam on August 22, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Not just the anti- crowd. I’m terribly happy that a traitor like this can never bear arms again, as well.

GWB on August 22, 2013 at 10:14 AM

If Obama doesn’t pardon him, it means Obama is homophobic, clearly.

This meme needs to spread to the point where he and other Democrats are asked about it incessantly:

“Mr. President, why do you hate gays?”

“Mrs. Clinton, do you agree with the President’s homophobia on this?”

Midas on August 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM

I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.

No, you’re not.

You’re also not a unicorn or a leprechaun. Have things added to or removed from your anatomy, or adopt an Irish accent and wish all you want, it doesn’t change reality, sorry.

Midas on August 22, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Muck Fanning. Traitorous little piece of worm excrement

PJ Emeritus on August 22, 2013 at 10:23 AM

bluegill on August 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Well, at Leavenworth, he will soon be someone’s little b!tch, does that count?

Oh crap, I just agreed with the gilled one

PJ Emeritus on August 22, 2013 at 10:28 AM

I have a question:

Defense argued that precisely because Manning is gay and has gender-identity issues, that he was unable to properly execute his duties. They argued this as a matter of causation.

So… which is it? Gays in the military will have no operational impact, or gays in the military must be permitted to endanger other Americans in the name of diversifying the armed forces?

Washington Nearsider on August 22, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, the manly men indulge in the manly past time of downloading child porn. Good thing they were all severely punished…

iwasbornwithit on August 22, 2013 at 10:46 AM

If Obama had a son, he’d look like Chelsea Manning.

NoPain on August 22, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Oh, c’mon. This is a gag, right?

Right?

Professor Blather on August 22, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Manning is a fool, among other things. People far higher up in the REB’s administration have gone under the bus.

In a political expediency sense, Manning is as disposable as it gets.

slickwillie2001 on August 22, 2013 at 11:36 AM

This was predictable.

And taxpayers will pay for it.

Sheesh!

workingclass artist on August 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM

do privates run the Army ? how is that no superior has been implicated. This is f’ing ridiculous.

williampeck1958 on August 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Call her “Chelsea” now.

Lord, Rome took so much longer…

Schadenfreude on August 22, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Professor Blather, please blather more often.

Best wishes to you and yours.

Schadenfreude on August 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM

No, you’re not.

You’re also not a unicorn or a leprechaun. Have things added to or removed from your anatomy, or adopt an Irish accent and wish all you want, it doesn’t change reality, sorry.

Midas on August 22, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Really? You’re that bigoted Midas?

If you don’t apply the proper PC rules to gender, you’re sexist.
If you don’t apply the proper PC rules to race, you’re a racist.

And here you are not applying those PC rules to fantasy/reality?

You know what that makes you… that makes you a… well A REALIST! for goodness sake.

How does it feel knowing you’re a REALIST… one of the worst kids of REALISTS really… just terrible. I didn’t know a message board would allow REALISTS like you to comment.

Yeah, I know. But you figured out it’s irony/sarcasm/sardonic humor by now… right? And if not “realist” what other term would make sense? Clearly “realist” is the only appropriate term.

gekkobear on August 22, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Manning should offer trade his, uh, junk to Obama in exchange for a pardon. He may not have much junk, but he apparently doesn’t want it. Obama doesn’t appear to have any, so even Manning’s would be a step up. Win/Win?

novaculus on August 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Cpl. Klinger

Philly on August 22, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Chelsea Clinton is pissed!

profitsbeard on August 23, 2013 at 2:35 AM