Whistleblower Chelsea Manning was jailed by a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia for contempt of court for the second time since March, after she again refused to testify before a grand jury impaneled to bring frame-up charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Manning - who had been subpoenaed to appear before another grand jury this week - was remanded in custody by Judge Anthony Trenga after refusing to provide testimony.
She told the judge she'd "rather starve to death" than comply with the subpoena. She was in jail for more than 60 days and 28 of them were spent in solitary confinement conditions, according to her lawyers.
"She can get out of jail at any time if she complies", Thomas Traxler, an assistant USA attorney, said during the hearing.
Former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning speaks to the press ahead of a Grand Jury appearance about WikiLeaks, in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 16, 2019. In a video recording she made on the day she was released from jail a week ago following the expiry of the first grand jury, she said: "I will never agree to testify before this or any other grand jury". On top of imprisonment, he vindictively imposed fines of $500 per day if she does not testify after a month of confinement and $1,000 a day after two months.
Prosecutors have not publicly disclosed the specific nature of the investigation in which they seek to have Manning testify.
The whistleblower, who leaked 750,000 classified military files to WikiLeaks, had vowed in interviews and a Twitch live stream through the past week that she would not testify to the grand jury and protested the secrecy of proceedings.
The goal here is to re-litigate the court martial ...
Manning said prosecutors had put her in an impossible position despite the Justice Department granting her immunity from self-incrimination.
In a statement Thursday, Manning's attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen said she was "disappointed" in Trenga's decision to detain her client, but did not expect Manning to change course in her refusal to testify. "It is telling that the USA has always been concerned with the disclosure of those documents than their damning substance". She was convicted at a court-martial in 2013 of crimes related to her disclosures and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
She went on to say that the Trump administration was "obsessed with unwinding Obama's legacy, from health care to Chelsea's commutation". Later, she added "when I arrive at the court house this coming Thursday, what happened last time will occur again".
"There's nothing dishonorable in fulfilling your obligation as a United States citizen", Trenga replied.
The new grand jury subpoena appears to be related to the United States prosecution of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who was arrested last month and is now awaiting his extradition hearing in the UK.
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