A Federal Judge Has Ordered Chelsea Manning Released From Jail

Illustration for article titled A Federal Judge Has Ordered Chelsea Manning Released From Jail
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On Thursday, a federal judge ordered that former army analyst and WikiLeaks informer Chelsea Manning be immediately released from jail. Manning has been incarcerated for the last ten months consecutively after refusing to testify before a grand jury about the classified documents she provided to WikiLeaks. The news of Manning’s release comes just a day after her lawyers said that she had attempted suicide while in federal custody.


Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Manning’s release, writing in court documents:

“The court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

Chelsea Manning was jailed in March of 2019 for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury about her involvement in WikiLeaks. Upon her release in early May was immediately served another subpoena, and a week later, she was sent back to jail.

In February of this year, Manning petitioned Judge Trenga to be released from jail, saying that she would never testify before a grand jury and that keeping her imprisoned served no purpose.

“I have been separated from my loved ones, deprived of sunlight, and could not even attend my mother’s funeral,” she wrote in her filing. “It is easier to endure these hardships now than to cooperate to win back some comfort, and live the rest of my life knowing that I acted out of self-interest and not principle.”

When Manning was ordered back to jail last May, Judge Trenga ruled that in addition to being imprisoned, Manning would be fined $500 a day if she refused to comply with the subpoena after 30 days, and that fine would increase to $1,000 a day after 60 days. After nearly 10 months in prison, this has amounted to $256,000 in fines—an amount which the court filings say is “due and payable immediately.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you’re in crisis or feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat online with someone from NSPL at any time, day or night.

Freelance writer & night blogger at Jezebel. Lover of television, astrology, and sandwiches.



I sympathize with her, but she should really testify. While some people like to look at Manning as a hero and others like to view her as something more of a villain or stooge, I think the truth is that she is today, just as she was 10 years ago, an emotionally troubled person who is predisposed to doing self-destructive shit.

At this point, the last 10 years of her life have been completely ruined—all because she was emotionally and intellectually vulnerable to the manipulation of somebody unconcerned with the ethical dilemma of whether asking somebody to commit self-harm for the greater good was okay.

People can paint her into a hero who stood on principle and made a noble and knowing sacrifice. She’s not. She’s a mark that a conman convinced to ruin her own life and who has too much invested in the myth of her own heroism that she can’t bring herself to face that none of this has ever been about upholding principles--and she doesn’t owe Assange a thing.