Chelsea Manning Released from Jail … with a Massive Fine

Judge Anthony Trenga just ordered Chelsea Manning released from jail, a day before her attempt to be released based off a claim that coercion would never get her to testify.

Trenga declared that motion moot, though. The reason he released her is because the work of the grand jury has finished.

By Order dated March 12, 2020, after finding that the business of Grand Jury 19-3 had concluded, the Court dismissed Grand Jury 19-3.

Upon consideration of the Court’s May 16, 2019 Order, the Motion, and the Court’s March 12, 2020 Order discharging Grand Jury 19-3, the Court finds that Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose. The Court further finds that enforcement of the accrued, conditional fines would not be punitive but rather necessary to the coercive purpose of the Court’s civil contempt order.

Her total fine amounts to $256,000.

I have no idea, yet, what this means. But I’m glad she has been released.

Update: Jeremy Hammond has also been released back to federal prison.


18 replies
  1. Alan says:

    There are two types of contempt, civil and criminal. Basically, in a civil contempt proceeding, a court is only allowed to take measures such as commitment and fines that are intended to force the subject to comply with the order. Punitive steps are not allowed in civil contempt proceeding, but they are part of a criminal contempt proceeding. Since Manning was sanctioned under a civil contempt proceeding, the court can only fine her if it states that the purpose was coercive rather than punitive. I have no idea if that is likely to hold up under appeal or not.

    • emptywheel says:

      Sorry: I meant I have no idea how this resolved. Manning’s team is working on a statement.

    • bmaz says:

      Alan, yes that finding was inherent in the original finding, the court cannot order fines to accumulate otherwise, and is how the fines were assessed, at least theoretically.

      Marcy is correct, we do not know squat about how exactly this all played out. Either way, if the grand jury is really done, Chelsea Manning should be released. That is fine. If the GJ is really done though, she has to be released. And I am glad she is.

      • Alan says:

        Yes, we’ll see. One key question is whether the prosecutor wants to convene another Grand Jury and subpoena her all over again…

        • emptywheel says:

          The grand jury wouldn’t have expired. It was new in May. Grand juries in EDVA are a year.

          • bmaz says:

            Yeah, Marcy is right about that. It was not expiration, rather termination, at least as to this case on it. Which is fine. But we do not know whether all GJ function af that specific GJ are terminated, or just this one. Nor do we know why, either way.

  2. John Adams says:

    I’m curious, Marcy, why you’re glad Chelsea has been released. Your previous posting suggested a possible connection between her suicide attempt and a “Dawn comes to Marblehead” moment where the prosecutors may have shown her evidence that she was a Putin->FSB->Assange patsy.

    Seemed pretty plausible to me at least.

    Do you think she’s already done enough time? If she really is a patriot, and if Assange really is a Russian spy, she needs to tell everything she knows, no? Help me understand your PoV.

  3. Terrapin says:

    Good luck collecting that fine. ;-)

    No doubt, Barr will try to make an example of Manning in this regard since the DoJ (for now) can no longer hold him in prison.

    • Victoria Murchisen says:

      A GoFundMe campaign to crowdfund Chelsea Manning’s fines was launched 19 hours ago. It has already received $93,700 from 2.4K donors. Looks like a piece of cake to reach $256,000.

    • bmaz says:

      Not going to speak for Marcy, but from my viewpoint, Manning should have been back at home long ago.

      Irrespective of that, though, the second the Court determines the GJ is no longer operative as to Manning she had to be released.

    • Victoria Murchisen says:

      Follow-up to Terrapin [March 13, 2020 at 2:56 pm]: your encouragement of “Good luck collecting that fine. ;-)” must’ve helped. In just 46 hours, 40 minutes after its launch, the campaign to crowdfund Chelsea Manning’s fines met its goal—revised upward from $265,000 to $265,740 to account for GoFundMe’s fees (0.27%). Thanks for your moral support! Chelsea Manning can now breathe easier.

      • bmaz says:

        Super. No responsibility for her asinine stance and attempt to destroy compulsory process. Congratulations to every person that supports said chicanery.

        What a joke. And, keep in mind, not one red cent of that would have accrued (nor time in civil detention) but for Manning’s own misguided and craven refusal to do her civic duty to start with. Every ounce of it is directly on her and her lawyers.

        For Chelsea Manning, I am extremely glad she is home, or close to being there, and that the weight of financial penalties if lifted off her. However, the glibness that her supporters felt that hers was a reasoned and principled position is beyond disturbing. And destructive to law. I wish her well and the best of health and happiness. I also wish some of her cheerleaders would admit what went on here was destructive and unnecessary.

    • J R in WV says:

      “No doubt, Barr will try to make an example of Manning in this regard since the DoJ (for now) can no longer hold him in prison.”

      I’m a 70-y-o white guy up a hollow in rural West Virginia, and I have the know-how and manners to be aware that Chelsea Manning is a she, so DOJ can no longer hold HER in prison. Get some manners, human. This isn’t the 1950s anymore.

      • bmaz says:

        Dear Terrapin: First off, J R in WV is right, Manning is a she, not a “him”.

        Secondly, she has NOT been in prison, she has been in civil detention in a jail completely by her own choosing and the Court’s completely correct finding of contempt. Bill Barr and DOJ did NOT do that, Chelsea Manning herself did.

        Please stop perpetuating complete garbage and bullshit as to what occurred. I am glad she is finally out and either home or headed home. But her and the Wikileaks fan clubbers need to get a grip and quit lying about what happened.

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