Convicted intelligence leaker Chelsea Manning was jailed Friday after refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks in Virginia.
U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for contempt of court on Friday after a brief hearing in which Manning confirmed she has no intention of testifying. She told the judge she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”
“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. “All of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010 — answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013,” she added.
Manning’s lawyers had asked that she be sent to home confinement instead of the jail, because of medical complications she faces. The judge said U.S. marshals can handle her medical care. Prosecutor Tracy McCormick said the jail and the marshals have assured the government that her medical needs can be met. In May 2018, Manning threatened to commit suicide, sharing to social media a suicide note and photo of a rooftop ledge. “Im sorry – i tried – im sorry i let you all down – im not really cut out for this world – i tried adapting to this world out here but i failed you,” wrote Manning. “I couldn’t do this anymore – i can take people i dont know hating me but not my own friends – i tried and im sorry about my failure.” She was later found unharmed.
Manning anticipated being jailed, saying in a statement before Friday’s hearing that she will invoke her First, Fourth and Sixth amendment protections when she appeared before the grand jury in Alexandria on Wednesday. “In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available,” said Manning.
Manning served seven years of a 35-year military sentence for leaking a trove of military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website before then-President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017. Manning came out as transgender and underwent sex-change surgery prior to her release from prison.
The Wikileaks investigation has been ongoing for a long time. Last year, prosecutors in Alexandria inadvertently disclosed that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is facing unspecified, sealed criminal charges in the district. Wikileaks also has emerged as a part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election, as investigators focus on whether President Donald Trump’s campaign knew Russian hackers were going to provide emails to Wikileaks stolen from Democratic organizations, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.