Chelsea Manning jailed for contempt of court


Former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning was jailed Friday for contempt of court after she refused to testify in a closed-door grand jury hearing related to WikiLeaks, the site to which she sent classified documents in 2010.

A statement from Manning's legal defense team confirmed that the whistleblower was taken into custody by order of a judge until she testified to the grand jury or the panel was dissolved.

“I’ve found you in contempt,” Judge Claude Hilton told Manning, according to The Washington Post, “either until you purge yourself or the end of the life of the grand jury.”

A brief notice from Manning's representatives said that a statement was forthcoming. Manning reportedly told journalists outside the courthouse on Friday that she was ready to go to jail and would only testify in a public setting.

“These secret proceedings tend to favor the government,” she told reporters, according to the Post. “I’m always willing to explain things publicly.”

Prosecutors told reporters Friday that they had no wish to hold Manning in custody and added that the facility to which she was headed had experience holding transgender inmates.

“The government does not want to confine Ms. Manning,” said Tracy McCormick. “She could change her mind right now and decide to testify.”

The ruling comes a day after Manning released a lengthy statement asserting that she was prepared to go to jail in order to stand by her principles and demand for public testimony.

“I responded to each question with the following statement: ‘I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights,” Manning said in a statement Thursday.

“In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available. My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal,” she continued.

Virginia prosecutors want Manning's testimony as part of an ongoing case against WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that posted thousands of documents related to U.S. warfare in the Middle East in 2010 after obtaining them from Manning.

Julian Assange, the site's founder, has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, originally to avoid a now-dropped rape charge in Sweden and currently to avoid U.S. prosecution, according to his statements.

Manning was convicted of leaking classified documents to the website and sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013, but she had her sentence commuted by former President Obama four years later.