Manning attorney vows to fight on, urges Obama to issue pardon

Lawyer: Manning cheered me up after sentencing, not the other way around

Former Army Pfc. Bradley Manning may have been handed a 35-year prison sentence on Wednesday for leaking classified documents, but "his fight is not over" and he could be free much sooner, according to Manning attorney David Coombs.

Manning's sentence could be reduced through a clemency process, and he also plans to file an appeal of the conviction, Coombs said during a press conference on Wednesday a few hours after the sentence was rendered by a military court judge.

There's another potential avenue for Manning as well, Coombs said: "Hopefully, the president does the right thing and those options are ruled out because he pardons him or releases him with time served."

Manning, who has also been dishonorably discharged from the Army, had faced a maximum of 90 years in prison on charges related to his leaking of a massive store of classified documents to Wikileaks in 2009 and 2010.

The documents Manning gave to Wikileaks included details of detainee abuse in Iraq as well as an airstrike in Baghdad that resulted in the deaths of civilians.

He was acquitted of the most serious charge against him, aiding the enemy, but was found guilty on a series of lesser ones, including some he pleaded guilty to earlier this year.

Barring a pardon or successful appeal, Manning could be out of prison in as little as seven years, according to Coombs. Military legal guidelines would allow Manning a parole hearing after 10 years, a period which would further be reduced by the more than three years Manning has already spent in detention, he said.

However, Coombs portrayed Manning as someone comfortable with what he had done and prepared to serve his sentence.

After the sentence was handed down, Coombs was in tears, whereas Manning tried to comfort him.

"He said, 'Don't worry about it, I know you did your best. I'm going to be OK,'" Coombs said. "That shouldn't happen. I, as the attorney should be cheering him up."

In a pretrial statement, Manning said he believed releasing the information "could spark a domestic debate on the role of our military and foreign policy in general, as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan."

But Manning reportedly expressed some regrets during a sentencing hearing held last week, saying he was "sorry that my actions hurt people," and "sorry that they hurt the United States." However, he also said he believed at the time that leaking the documents would help people.

Coombs spoke to the broader themes surrounding Manning's conviction.

"What's at stake here is, how do we as a public want to be informed about what our government does," he said. "The National Security apparatus has exploded since 9/11. You don't even understand how much money is put into national security because that's secret too."

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange called Manning's sentence "a significant tactical victory" for his defense team, family and supporters in a statement released Wednesday. "At the start of these proceedings, the United States government had charged Bradley Manning with a capital offence and other charges carrying over 135 years of incarceration."

However, "Manning's trial and conviction is an affront to basic concepts of Western justice," he added.

Assange's organization is also supporting former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked information about NSA surveillance programs and is now in Russia, having been granted asylum.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Criminalintellectual propertysecuritydata breachBradley Manninglegalprivacy

More about IDGNational Security AgencyNSA

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Chris Kanaracus

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts