FORT MEADE, Md., Dec. 22, 2011 – The prosecution and defense rested today after delivering their closing statements in the Article 32 hearing of a soldier charged with leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents.Today’s session, which adjourned at about 10:30 a.m., wrapped up eight days of pre-trial proceedings in the case against Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning that began Dec. 16.
An Article 32 hearing, often compared to a civilian grand jury, is a pretrial hearing to determine if grounds exist for a general court martial, the most serious of courts martial.
The investigating officer, Army Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, now has until Jan. 16 to issue his recommendations to the Special Court Martial Convening Authority, a Military District of Washington spokesperson told American Forces Press Service.Alamanza may
ask for an extension, if needed, the official said.
His report will recommend that the case be referred to a court martial, or that some or all of the charges against Manning be dismissed.
The Special Court Martial Convening Authority, Army Col. Carl Coffman, will then provide Alamanza’s recommendation to the General Court Martial Convening Authority, and indicate whether he concurs with it, the MDW official said.
Manning, an intelligence analyst, is suspected of leaking military and diplomatic documents to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks in what officials believe is the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history.
WikiLeaks, in turn, released thousands of these documents, including classified records about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, on its website last year. War on Terror News