Defense seeks to block bin Laden emails

Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:39 AM

FORT MEADE, Md., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Defense attorneys at the WikiLeaks trial of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning have asked a military judge to block emails found on Osama bin Laden's hard drives.

The prosecution wants to use the emails found at bin Laden's compound in Pakistan as evidence that Manning "aided the enemy," a charge that carries a potential life sentence, Courthouse News Service reported.

The 24-year-old Manning is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of files with U.S. diplomatic and wartime secrets to WikiLeaks, a whistle-blower website dedicated to publishing secret information.

Prosecutors said they want to call nine witnesses to testify to the chain of custody from bin Laden's hard drive to an FBI agent to a Quantico, Va., laboratory for forensic analysis.

Those emails have not been made public, and the defense is expected to challenge their authenticity.

Defense attorney David Coombs said the government must prove that Manning knew the files he reportedly leaked could potentially have fallen into the hands of an "enemy."

Tuesday, military judge Col. Denise Lind refused to dismiss the case against Manning, who has been in custody for more than 1,000 days.

Manning's lawyers argued that extreme foot dragging by the prosecution violated their client's right to a speedy trial.

Lind disagreed saying the government has worked "assiduously to bring this case to trial."

Manning has been incarcerated since May 2010.

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