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Continued: Defense opens case in Manning's WikiLeaks trial with leaked video of US helicopter attack

  • Article by: DAVID DISHNEAU , Associated Press
  • Last update: July 8, 2013 - 6:45 PM

The defense has said it intends to call 25 witnesses to dispute the government's charges. The 10 prospective witnesses on Monday include Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler, who has written that leaking something to WikiLeaks is no different than leaking it to The New York Times. Benkler's testimony could counter the government's assertion that Manning knowingly gave intelligence to the enemy because he knew al-Qaida members would see what WikiLeaks posted on its website.

Another prospective defense witness, retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, would likely give testimony to rebut charges stemming from Manning's acknowledged leak of Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment records. Morris was the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo from 2005-07.

Manning said in a Feb. 28 courtroom statement that the assessment briefs were "not very important from either an intelligence or national security standpoint."

Michael Navarre, a former Navy judge advocate now in private practice in Washington, said lead defense attorney David Coombs will likely seek to elaborate on Manning's assertion in his February statement that he selectively leaked material that wouldn't harm national security.

"I think he would pick up on the themes he brought out in the plea," Navarre said.

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