2012-02-23 Transcript of Bradley Manning's Arraignment at Fort Meade, MD 1 p.m. February 23, 2012

This transcript was taken by hand at Bradley Manning's arraignment on February 23, 2012 at 1:00 p.m., Fort Meade, MD.

Please send corrections to carwinb@hushmail.com.

Bradley Manning's arraignment was held in same court room as his Article 32 Pretrial Hearing. You can read transcripts from the first three days of that proceeding.

The courtroom for Bradley Manning's arraignment is lit dramatically with incandescent parabolic reflectors, and not fluorescent lights as was his Article 32 Pretrial Hearing.

Military personnel are dressed in full armed service uniforms. They had worn camos during the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing.

Many of the same individuals from the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing, like Lt. Hughes, are guarding the arraignment proceeding.

I went as a member of the public, even though WL Central was considered a credential media organization by the Pentagon "for this hearing." I did so, because I wanted to be in the courtroom.


Captain John Haberland, a spokesman for the Military District of Washington (MDW), sat behind me taking notes and coughing. He had also been at the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing. (I would have brought a hearing aid, but, alas, they don't allow electronic devices in courtroom.)

Military judge Col. Denise R. Lind is presiding. She is middle aged, with blondish coiffed hair, spectacles, and a long black robe.

Prosecution is Captain Ashden Fein, Captain Joe Morrow and Captain Angel Overgaard.

Defense is Mr. David Coombs, Major Matthew Kemkes and Captain Paul Bouchard.

Mr. David Coombs sits to the right of Bradley Manning.

Right of the prosecution table is a small corner desk. Last time I was in this court room (during the the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing), the desk was occupied by an MP named Bradley, not Manning. On his desk stood a router looking device with a enormous antenna. Today the the desk is occupied by a middle age bearded man in a civilian suit with polarizing spectacles. He was also in attendance at Bradley Manning's pretrial hearing. My instincts tell me is court security. In fact the entire campus of Fort Meade is populated with middle aged sunken faces in SUV's and luxury vehicles, or polite, suspicious young military personnel.

Up front, behind Judge Col. Denise Lind's raised bench stand the US Flag, the Army Flag, and the flag for JAG. The chord and tassels indicate they are martial flags. At her right and below sits a young male in armed service uniform. Seated in the jury pews on the prosecution side of the court is a young female in camos, her hair in a bun.

Compared to the Pretrial Hearing, the gallery does not have as many dark suited men with copies of the Washington Post. Today the gallery is filled with youngish journalists. A casually dressed Veteran for Peace and a linen suited David Eberhart, from Code Pink, sit on the defense side of the gallery. I am in the back row of the defense side of the gallery opposite a female representative from the Australian embassy, who was also present Manning's Article 32 Pretrial Hearing.

Most of language today is legal and procedural. The hearing lasted about 50 minutes.

Judge Lindopens the proceedings.

Captain Ashden Fein (prosecution) states the procedural history of the US charge's against Bradley Manning from original accuser Cameron Leikerthru the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing to today's arraignment.

Fein (Prosecution): Prosecution is ready to proceed.

Fein (Prosecution) then names each member of the prosecution and defense team, confirming that the individuals named have been "detailed" to the court.

Fein (Prosecution): Fein..Morrow…Overgaard…for the defense...Coombs…Kempkes…Bouchard…Hunter White…Patricia Williams…court reporter…Cory Brother (spelling).

Fein (Prosecution) then states that all members of the prosecution are certified and qualified under UCMJ (Unified Code of Military Justice).

Military judge Col. Denise R. Lind reads Bradley Manning his rights. As in the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing script, her statement details the defendant's rights, as well as parameters around the military appointed defense counsel. Her statement also advises Manning what his rights are should he request other military counsel than those already provided.

Judge Lindasked Bradley Manning if he understood his rights.

Bradley Manning: Yes, M'am.

Judge Lind then asks Bradley Manning who will represent him.

Bradley Manning: Mr. David Coombs, Major Matthew Kemkes, (He glances quickly down table.) and Captain Paul Bouchard.

David Coombs (civilian defense) rises and states that all members of the defense are "detailed and certified."

Judge Lind asks Coombs (defense) to state his qualifications. He does, and says he has no conflicts of interest. Coombs (defense) is sworn in by Judge Lind.

Next up Judge Lind asks if there are any challenges to her presiding in the case of Bradley Manning. Fein (prosecution) declines. Coombs (defense) asks if he might ask her some questions.

Coombs (defense): What prior knowledge do you have of this case?

Judge Lind: I knew there was case. I knew the case involved classified info. I knew it involved a person named PFC Manning.

Coombs (defense) : Did you view any material related to this case?

Judge Lind answers either "No," or, "Not that I can recall." (I am not sure of her exact words.)

Coombs (defense) : What impressions, if any, do you have of this case?

Judge Lind: None.

Coombs (defense) : Any discussions?

Judge Lind: Not that I can recall.

Coombs (defense) : Formed any opinions about the case?

Judge Lind: None.

Coombs (defense) asks Judge Lind for her credentials.

Coombs (defense): Did you teach at the National Defense University?

Judge Lind said she took (a ?) class(es ?) from 2006 to 2007 at National Defense University and then "I taught at the National Defense University from 2007 to 2008."

Coombs (defense): What courses did she teach?

Judge Lind says taught national security strategy, law of armed conflict. She states she was part of a "think tank, and since I was co-chair some sort of Australia, New Zealand…regional studies."

Coombs (defense): Ever deal with classified information?

Judge Lind: She pauses. She says she thinks two cases either at college or as a military judge, "but I had to have received training on classified information to become a judge...short courses...Army Judge Advocate General School."

Coombs (defense): I taught there. Did you ever take any of my courses? Do you recall me teaching any classes?

Judge Lind pauses. "I think you might have (taught me). You look familiar."

Coombs (defense): Do you have any impressions of me?

Judge Lind to Coombs (defense) politely embarrassed, laughs and states that she "doesn't really remember the class." and "No."

Coombs (defense): No further questions.

Fein (prosecution) then reads charges as groups. e.g. this many violations under Article 134…Fein (prosecution) starts with "aiding the enemy" at another point he states that unauthorized software was put on "two separate systems." Fein (prosecution) describes the procedural aspects of the charges. First accuser was Cameron Leiker. He states after Leiker was the first convening authority…then for MD, Carl Coffman…then for MDW, Linnington.

Judge Lind then explains to Manning what his options are regarding the form of his court martial, by military judge or by jury of officers. (Please refer to the Manual for Court Martial). Judge Lind then describes various rules for jury of officers, "None can be junior to you." She describes that two thirds are required for guilt and sentence, and three fourths if the sentence carries more than ten years of confinement. She concludes, "or a military judge alone can rule and determine sentence."

Coombs (defense) rises and states that Manning defers form (trial by judge or jury of officers) selection.

Fein (prosecution) rises and asks if Bradley Manning will waive the recitation of charges.

Coombs (defense) waives.

Fein (prosecution) goes into procedural history of the US charges against Bradley Manning again, "Cameron Leiker sworn before someone certified to administer oaths…Linnington, convening authority, MDW"

Judge Lind then states for the court record that an R.C.M. 802 meeting with counsel took place telephonically on February 8, 2012. Judge Lind explains to Manning and for the court that the telephonic meeting was to deal with scheduling and logistical matters. She explains that when an Electronic Docketing Request is received the court is required to solicit dates from the defense and prosecution for the arraignment and trial.

Judge Lind then asks the defense and prosecution if they agree. They answer, "Yes, M'am" and "Yes, your Honor"

Judge Lind states for the court record that at the R.C.M. 802 meeting the US prosecution requested army service uniforms. Defense had no objection. Judge Lind states for the court record that both sides provided possible trial schedules. Judge Lind states at the R.C.M. 802 conducted telephonically February 8, 2012 was followed with email correspondence. Judge Lind states for court record that the R.C.M. 802 telephonic meeting with counsel also concerned motions that would be filed at the arraignment. If I am correct, Judge Lind states that there was a question as to how to file motions (meaning by submission or grouped).

The next part relates to a series of correspondences between defense, Judge Lind and prosecution regarding defense motions.

Judge Lind states that the R.C.M. 802 meeting and subsequent email correspondence also concerned a defense motion to compel discovery, a defense motion to compel deposition, and bill of particulars.

Coombs (defense) says that when the defense requested discovery, prosecution said it needed more time, namely three weeks.

Coombs (defense) says in an "email dated February 15, 2012 "the court advised the Government that their request for continuance is denied"

(I missed Judge Lind exact question to prosecution.)

Fein (prosecution) rises and states, "We didn't receive that email."

Coombs (defense) rises and says to Judge Lind "in a prosecution email dated February 21, 2012, prosecution again requested a three week continuance…the email (thread) has your denial."

Fein (prosecution): "We will look at that."

Judge Lind then states that prior to today, defense and prosecution discussed that the next court session was to be March 15 and 16. She states that the date is not firm. The date, she says could be week of March 15 and 16 and would be "solidified next week."

Next up the prosecution raises the issue of "classification spillage" when defense filed original motions.

Fein (prosecution): When the defense filed the original motions there was spillage of classified info. We had to seek clarification from the original classification authorities (OCAs)…only 2 out of three (not sure if this refers to motions or…?).

Coombs (defense): The Government alleges "spillage". Our experts determined there was "no spillage." Based upon…protective order which defense (filed?) the Government unilaterally determines there is "spillage." Coombs (defense) continues and proposes that the court security officer have the ultimate authority, and can consult the OCAs himself.

Judge Lind says the matter will be addressed at the next session. Judge Lind brings up the matter of the trial publicity order, a court modified draft of which has been being proposed to counsel. Judge Lind says the trial publicity order "will be resolved by tomorrow."

Judge Lind acknowledges the order proposing the court security officer (not signed). (I have in my notes that this individual is EB. I also have in my notes that defense mentions the individual Prather (spelling?) related to the protective order.)

Judge Lind then tells defense: Please refrain from ex parte,/em> filing until next session March 15 or 16. She explains to the court that ex parte,/em> filings are where only the judge get to see the motion.

There is a discussion concerning defense filing a motion to compel discovery. The defense's ex parte is for the filing, not the motion. This was clarified in court discussion.

The defense motion to compel discovery was enormous when passed later from Judge Lind to a hand hidden behind a cubical desk in front of bench.

Judge Lind then asks Fein (prosecution) if he wants to address the ex parte filing. FFein (prosecution) has no objection.

I believe Judge Lind then says court will counsel on the ex parte filing.

Coombs (defense) then brings up the matter of the Government not properly disclosing what evidence it will specifically use against Bradley Manning as required under R.C.M. 304 (D1 I believe) and 311 (Needs verification). He describes how that evidence was provided to defense counsel by the prosecution. He states the ranges are not precise, "There are 29 pages of bates numbers. Three pages of bates number ranges. The requirements are that the Government indicate content (statements etc.) they will use. Giving ranges is not proper disclosure…also requirement is to detail items seized that the Government intends to introduce."

Fein (prosecution) rises and states they have complied under 304D1. Mentions there are 41, 821 documents, "Because of the amount of information… most efficient was (their system of finding info). He states that the documents that prosecution included contain statements from "AR from CID." Then he says, there is "no meaningful way to identify these documents so we have ascribed bates numbers…there are 41,000 documents to look at those statements. He continues and states (if I am not mistaken) prosecution did not make exception for duplicates. He says, "US provided individual pieces of seized property by item number from the chain of custody...by bates number…precisely what piece we intend to use."

Coombs (defense): That is not the case.

Coombs (defense) then gives two examples, "random samples…none of these indicate what the prosecution will introduced of the 29 pages of bates numbers. The Government should be forced to be clear on what statements…what evidence."

Judge Lind then says that, "It seems to comply," but she leaves it open for review, "Well I won't say now."

Fein (prosecution) then goes through a description of how seized items are identified. "We will provide as much clarity as we can."

Judge Lind tells defense that they can raise that issue (namely, the prosecution's vague numbering system, lack of specificity) at another date.

Judge Lind then asks the prosecution and defense if they want to supplement court record regarding the R.C.M. 802 meeting, and she brings up seating plans.

Fein (prosecution): Moment M'am...

Judge Lind: Yes.

Fein (prosecution) brings up question of how documents will be marked.

Judge Lind then says something regarding document marks and their being made part of the appellate record.

Next segment in court concerns the filings by the prosecution and defense, as well as Judge Lind's entry of the filings into the court record

Defense lists it's filings. They include: Case Management Order, Protective Order, Motion for Publicity, Motion to Compel Discovery, Motion to Compel Deposition, Bill of Particulars, Ex parte filing in supplement to Motion to Compel Discovery.

Judge Lind asks the defense about the court security officer being introduced to the record of the trial. She then asks Government what they are filing.

Fein (prosecution) lists filings: US Proposed Trial Calendar, and Protective Order.

Judge Lind then says she will handle the filings and then take Bradley Manning's plea.

Judge Lind calls the numbers and title for each filings one through nine, and staples them. After each she passes them to a hand in a hidden cubicle in front of bench. The hand passes them back. The hand belongs to a young thirty something African American woman in civilian garb who was also present in the same spot for the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing. I didn't write down the number of each corresponding filing. I do know that number nine was the defense's ex parte filing for supplemental Motion to Compel Discovery.

Next up Judge states that the defense requests an open file of email correspondence related and subsequent to the telephonic R.C.M. 802 meeting on February 8, 2012

Fein (prosecution) rises and says he will keep a file.

Coombs (defense) rises and states that defense would object to a trial schedule after June 2012 Prosecution has suggested August 3, 2012. Coombs (defense) states the fact that his client has been in pretrial confinement for 635 days, and how many days Bradley Manning will have been in confinement if the proceeding were to occur in August 2012. He states, "Defense has already demanded speedy trial several times. The Government is constantly citing the case's novelty, scale, and difficulty coordinating various agencies." Coombs (defense) then gives an example of when the Government turn around is in 24 hours regarding its own interests. Coombs (defense) states the need for timely progression and his client's due process rights. He concludes, "There is a problem."

Fein (prosecution) rises and mentions "realistic trial scheduling."

Judge Lind then asks if there is anything else before taking Manning plea.

Coombs (defense) rises and stats that Bradley Manning will defer his plea.

Judge Lind orders the court in recess till March 15 or 16. As court closes, guards surround the front of the gallery blocking the public from Bradley Manning At that moment David Eberhart, from Code Pink, asks loudly, "Judge, isn't a soldier required to report a war crime?"