Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who had released a trove of classified data to WikiLeaks, has been sent back to jail. In court, Manning claimed that she would rather starve to death than cooperate with prosecutors. As of now, she will have to remain in jail until either when she testifies or when the grand jury’s term expires in 18 months.
Manning had already spent two months in jail for refusing a subpoena to testify before the grand jury. She was released just last week when that grand jury’s term expired. Prosecutors put together another grand jury and quickly subpoenaed Manning again.
So why doesn’t Manning want to testify? Among other things, she has labeled the whole grand jury process as “unacceptable.” However, it’s worth noting that grand juries are enshrined in the Constitution. Manning also argued that she has already provided “extensive testimony” to the government.
Manning claims that the ongoing cases are simply an attempt to get her back in jail and to relitigate her previous prosecution for providing information to WikiLeaks. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail, but outgoing President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to roughly seven years.
Manning may have another way to get out of jail this time around. Uncooperative witnesses are only supposed to be jailed if there is reasonable belief that confinement will get him or her to testify. Manning, however, is “famously principled,” according to her defense team, and is unlikely to cave. Two months did little to shake her resolve; having already spent seven years behind bars, she might not be sweating 18 more months.