After being delayed yesterday, the defense team for PFC Bradley Manning gave their closing arguments today in court. Defense attorney David Coombs focused most of his energy on poking holes in the prosecution’s case, accusing them of creating a story that was not based in truth to fit the charges that were levied against PFC Manning. “The government gave a diatribe yesterday, and a lot of it was not based in fact,” stated Coombs. In one moment, Coombs even referred to the government’s case as having “child logic.”
As has been the strategy for the entire trial, the defense focused on the reasoning behind Manning’s release of the footage and logs. Coombs played multiple clips from the “Collateral Murder” video at the center of the trial in an attempt to put the court in the state of mind of a young soldier seeing war crimes committed on video.
The defense also brought into question the comprehension of the rules in question by PFC Manning and his fellow soldiers. Coombs argued that “No one truly understood rules” of what was allowed around digital media or executable files that the soldiers had access to, after making the point that the war logs that were leaked contained events that were “observable by the enemy.”
For their final blow, the defense chose to poke holes in the credibility of one of the government’s witnesses who testified regarding how the information that PFC Manning released was valued. The defense argued that even though the prosecution’s witness Daniel Lewis testified about how the information was valued, he not only had no experience doing so, but testified without the court verifying him as an expert. This pokes holes in a lot of the government’s arguments around PFC Manning’s violations of the Espionage Act.
Though there will be no verdict today or over the weekend, there is a verdict expected by July 31. As always, keep it locked to Queerty for details as they come in, and much thanks to our friends over at Firedoglake.com who’ve been doing amazing first-hand reporting on the case.