Chelsea Manning sprung from jail... but probably not for long

After spending more than two months in a jail cell on contempt charges, convicted traitor Chelsea Manning was released yesterday. This was not a signal that she had finally decided to cooperate and answer questions before the grand jury. Nor was it an indication that one of her attorneys’ many motions to allow her to go free had been granted. It was just the fact that the grand jury had concluded their term and been dismissed. At that point, Manning could no longer be held in jail. (Gizmodo)

Chelsea Manning was released today from the Virginia jail where she spent 62 days for refusing to testify about her past association with WikiLeaks before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Attorneys for Manning said the release came after the grand jury’s term expired on Thursday…

“Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defense to prove to District Judge Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony,” her lawyers said.

Manning was jailed on March 8 for contempt, a process crime, for which she is not being punished; rather, her time in jail is intended to coerce her into cooperating. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a motion filed by her legal team to have her set free last month.

Manning will probably want to go enjoy a nice meal and a night in a comfortable bed because she may not be free for long. No sooner was she out of jail than she was served with a second subpoena to appear before a new grand jury that’s being impaneled one week from today. Since her attorneys are already issuing public statements saying she will continue to refuse to answer any questions before any grand jury, Manning is very likely to wind up right back in the same cell by next Friday night.

Manning’s release had been anticipated because the last grand jury had been at work for quite a while before she was called before them and there are limits as to how long you can reasonably keep the jurors on the job. But the new grand jury will be starting fresh and could have a long road ahead of them. With that in mind, Manning could conceivably wind up spending the rest of the year in jail if she continues her protest.

While everyone has the right to their own opinion, Manning’s protest here is certainly curious, to say the least. She’s not just saying that she refuses to answer any questions about Wikileaks and Julian Assange. She’s refusing to answer any questions about anything in front of a grand jury as a protest of the grand jury system itself. Somehow I don’t think the entire nation is going to abandon the grand jury system simply because of a political stunt from one former resident of Fort Leavenworth. With that in mind, she might want to prepare for another long stretch of eating jail food.