PFC Manning: Lawyer DOES NOT Question Soldier’s Sanity

The AP ran a story stating that I questioned the sanity of my client, PFC Bradley Manning.  This statement is inaccurate.  The AP has since corrected this by changing the title to “GI’s mental health questioned in WikiLeaks case.”  However, some stories still report that “WikiLeaks case lawyer questions client’s sanity.”

To set the record straight, here were my official comments to the AP in this respect:

Q:  What is the next step?

A:  The next step in this process will be to conduct what is called a Rule for Court-Martial 706 board.  The board is comprised of three Army mental health professionals.  Their task will be to conduct a thorough mental examination of PFC Manning to determine if at the time of the alleged conduct he suffered from a severe mental disease or defect, whether he was able to appreciate the nature and quality of his conduct, and whether he is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect.  After we have the determination by the 706 board then we will know if an Article 32 and perhaps a trial will be appropriate.

Q:  There are reports your client is suicidal. Is this true?

A:  The reports of those concerns are true.*  PFC Manning’s unit documented a steady decline in his mental stability from early on in their deployment starting around December of 2009 to May of 2010.  Consistent in this documentation was the behavior that they were concerned about intensified during the deployment.  Due to this behavior and a concern about his personal safety, the command made the decision to remove the bolt from PFC Manning’s weapon.  For several weeks, he apparently walked around Forward Operating Base Hammer with his assigned weapon that was incapable of being used.  During this time, however, he was still expected to perform his duties as an intelligence analyst.

*To be abundantly clear, I am not saying that PFC Manning was suicidal, just that there are reports by his immediate supervisor that expressed the concern that he may be suicidal.