by Sue Udry UPDDATE 4/15/2014: On April 14, Major General Jeffrey Buchanan denied Manning’s clemency bid, uphoding her 35-year prison sentence. Her request will now go to the army court of criminal appeals. Last week, Chelesa Manning’s trial attorney, David Coombs, filed an appeal with Major General Buchanan, urging him to use his power to disapprove the improper findings of guilt and to reduce Manning’s unjust sentence. Coombs had previously filed a pardon request with President Obama as well as a clemency request with the Secretary of the Army. Both actions were not acted upon. Instead, he was told that action needed to be taken on PFC Manning’s case by the convening authority and appellate courts prior to any consideration of a pardon or clemency. Thus the filing with the convening authority, Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan. Coombs released a statement with an insider’s view of the injustices of the court martial proceedings and the excessive 35-year sentence. He warned:
I have fought to ensure that she received a fair trial and a just result. Unfortunately, I do not believe that she received either… The government-wide crackdown on whistleblowers and the extension of this crackdown to journalists threatens to stifle the very freedoms that we [the United States] have fought so hard to ensure.
Recently, with the support of Mr. Coombs, Chelsea has chosen a top-notch attorney to represent her in the appeals process. The National Law Journal has declared Nancy Hollander to be one of the top-50 women litigators in the country, and she is preparing to appeal Chelsea’s case up to the Supreme Court if necessary. EVENT: APRIL 13, 2014 at 7 p.m. Presentation by Manning’s new legal counsel, Nancy Hollander, and her law partner Vincent Ward. They will be joined by NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and FBI whistleblower Mike German Join us live in Washington, DC, or via streaming on the web. Click for more information