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Please join Prof. Emily Sack for a candid conversation with David Coombs, lead defense counsel for Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, the soldier convicted in the largest leak of documents in United States history. On August 21, 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for providing over 700,000 classified documents to Wikileaks. On September 3, 2013, Manning filed a presidential pardon and commutation request stating that he committed his conduct out of a love for my country and sense of duty to others.
During the course of his representation of Manning, Coombs won praise for his excellent trial work and, in particular, for avoiding a conviction on the most serious charge that Manning was facing, that of aiding the enemy. The New York Times wrote that Coombs mounted an aggressive defense and that he attacked the government’s case on every conceivable ground, even as he conceded that Private Manning was the Wikileaks source.
In a statement read on the Today Show the day after sentencing, Manning ¬who had been previously diagnosed with gender dysphoria ¬ announced that she was female and would like to be known as Chelsea. She also expressed a desire to undergo hormone replacement therapy while in military confinement. Coombs continues to represent Manning with respect to the gender issues, clemency matters and presidential pardon.