Prosecution withholding thousands of emails regarding Bradley’s brutal treatment

This week, defense lawyer David Coombs seeks more evidence surrounding Bradley Manning’s abusive, illegal pretrial treatment at the Quantico Marine Brig. Will the prosecution continue to withhold thousands of Quantico emails relating to Bradley’s confinement conditions?

By the Bradley Manning Support Network. August 28, 2012.

In a new post on his blog, in an effort to bring transparency to Bradley Manning’s otherwise secretive trial, lawyer David Coombs published a motion to compel “the remaining 1,290 emails that it obtained from Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) regarding the confinement conditions of PFC Manning.”

The Government has reviewed a total of 1,374 Quantico emails regarding Bradley’s confinement conditions, but decided that only 84 of them were “obviously material to the preparation of the defense” and gave those to the defense. But Coombs says that the prosecution delayed production of the emails:

In spite of receiving the 1,374 emails in response to its preservation request, the Government elected to permit these emails to collect dust in one of its file cabinets until two days before the Defense’s Article 13 motion was due….This conduct is either yet another example of that lack of due diligence on the Government’s part, or a conscious decision by the Government to gain a tactical advantage in the Article 13 motion.

Coombs says the Government is using too narrow a scope in producing relevant documents, and that the remaining emails fall under the original request:

These emails are clearly “documents … by employees of Quantico confinement facility relating to PFC Manning” and should have been produced a long time ago pursuant to the Defense’s discovery request… It defies logic to believe that there are nearly 1,300 emails out there dealing with PFC Manning’s confinement that are not somehow relevant and helpful to the preparation of the defense.

Because of the prosecution’s delay in producing these vital emails, some of which have already revealed that a three-star general, removed from Quantico, ordered Bradley’s needlessly and illegally punitive treatment, Coombs had to delay litigation of the Article 13 motion until the October 1-5 hearing.

To permit the Government to hold onto the remaining 1,290 emails will only reward its lack of due diligence, and result in the Defense being unable to demonstrate the full extent of the Article 13 violation.

As this motion shows, however, the prosecution could drag its feet even further in producing 1,290 more emails. If that happens, it’s possible the Article 13 motion – and likely the rest of the scheduled proceedings – could be delayed yet again. August 28 is already Bradley’s 828th day in prison without court martial. How many more will it be? Coombs concludes:

The Court should compel the Government to produce these emails immediately to the Defense in order to avoid any additional requirement for a continuance of the Article 13 motion.

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