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Access sought for WikiLeaks trial docs

Sept. 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Dozens of media outlets have petitioned the highest U.S. military court to unseal documents in the trial of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning.

A friend-of-the-court brief filed by more than 30 news outlets with the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces in Washington seeks to make public the motions, briefs and written rulings in Manning's court-martial case, Politico reported. The newspaper is a partner in the filing.

While hearings in the military trial have largely been open to the public, the documents associated with the case are not, meaning reporters are often at a loss as to what lawyers are actually arguing about.

"Public court records, namely the various legal arguments and requests by parties and their counsel contained in the documents, enable journalists to tell the full story, despite the fact that deadline pressures or shrinking news staffs may drastically limit their ability to attend a lengthy judicial proceeding in its entirety," the media brief says.

Manning, an Army private serving in Iraq, was arrested in 2010 on suspicion he turned over tens of thousands of classified military documents to the controversial Web site WikiLeaks.

Prosecutors say documents related to Manning's case can be accessed via Freedom of Information Act requests. Politico said that process is almost always untimely and in the past the military has flatly rejected requests for documents pertaining to Manning's case.

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