Supporters of Pvt. Bradley Manning gather near the Fort Meade, Md., courtroom where his pretrial hearing began Friday.
Friday marked the first day of Pvt. Bradley Manning’s hearing at Fort Meade, Md., and it wasn’t without some courtroom commotion. Lawyer David Coombs, who is representing the accused WikiLeaks informer, came out swinging by requesting that the investigating officer in charge of Manning’s case recuse himself. Meanwhile, supporters gathered outside the military court to signal their loyalties to the 23-year-old detainee. —KA
Defence lawyer David Coombs said Lt Col Paul Almanza, a former military judge, was “biased”.
Lt Col Almanza is a former military judge who now works for the Department of Justice. His refusal to accept all but two of 38 defence witnesses meant the defence could not adequately make their case, Mr Coombs said.
Following two recesses and arguments by the prosecution and the defence, the investigating officer refused to recuse himself and the hearing continued.
Proceedings are expected to last around five days, after which recommendations will be made to a military general, who will decide whether to proceed to a full trial, according to Mr Coombs.
The BBC’s Paul Adams says the soldier’s defence team is likely to argue that little harm came of the leaks, and that their release was in the greater public interest.